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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Testaments Old & New

Posted by on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM


John Mac sent that tweet a few minutes before this dropped into my email inbox:

Enjoy your brief season. Soon you shall be in hell-fire for not receiving the only payment possible for your sins—the shed Blood of Jesus. Every unbeliever will spend eternity in a lake of fire. Even believers who do not turn away from their sins (like your vile sin of disgusting, unnatural sodomy, wherein you live like a filthy dog), will go to Hell 1000 years, before they enjoy eternity with God. But for unbelievers (like yourself), you will pay for your sins in Hell 1000 years, and then depart into your eternal destination, the lake of fire—but before this, you will likely also begin to reap and feel the effects of your wickedness even in this life. God is not mocked! So mock on. You will soon see Who has the last laugh. Hear the Word of the Lord: Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." The death penalty formerly carried out by the Theocracy, is carried out by God Himself today. Mock on, pervert. This is your time. Enjoy it. It is brief.

Leviticus, of course, is some serious Old Testament shit.

And I stumbled over this gaydar-pinger's video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. Our YouTube preacher focuses on what the New Testament says about homosexuality—or appears to say about homosexuality (if you haven't watched Matthew Vines' video yet, you should)—but after shoving Paul down our throats, he buttresses his argument with a nod to the Old Testament. At the 7:28 mark: "You can read about that it Genesis 19. Also Leviticus 18 gives some very explicit instructions..." The instructions given in Leviticus 18? Gay people should be murdered. He adds: "The law is good, you guys."

Sorry, John Mac, but the Old Testament is germane. Anti-gay Christian hypocrites—and not all Christians are anti-gay; not all Christians are hypocrites—are constantly citing passages in the Old Testament to justify their persecution of LGBT people. We are far likelier to hear about Leviticus 20:13 and Sodom & Gomorrah in an anti-gay sermon than we are to hear about Corinthians or Timothy. And when conservative Christians toss Leviticus 20:13 in our faces—or get it tattooed on themselves (in violation of Leviticus 19:28)—we have a right to confront them about everything in the Old Testament that they choose to ignore, from the "abomination" of eating of shellfish to God giving dads the okay to sell their daughters into slavery. ("Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" is a popular an Old Testament reference too.)

But it's only when gay people bring up a passage like Deuteronomy 22:20-21 that you hear anyone say, "Oh, that stuff about stoning daughters to death on their wedding nights if they're not virgins is in the Old Testament, you goof! That's not in the New Testament!" If it's out-of-bounds—totally not kosher—for gay people to bring up what the Old Testament says about clams and farming and personal grooming and tattoos and menstruation and virginity and adultery, then it shouldn't be kosher for conservative Christians to bring up Leviticus and Sodom & Gomorrah. Which they do. Constantly. And it's not like they have to: there are, courtesy of Paul, plenty of anti-gay verses in the New Testament. But those verses aren't anywhere near as hateful or murderous as what you'll find in Leviticus, of course, which is why they're nowhere near as popular with anti-gay bigots who call themselves Christians.

Which brings me to this email:

The problem with your Bible bashing speech is that you bash the Old Testament. I guess you haven't heard of the New Testament. It overrides the Old. There are no stonings in the New, no animal sacrifices, no person is turned into a pillar of salt, there are no slaves. The New Testament is a testament of the love of Jesus who, BTW, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one goes to the Father except through Him. Are you able to comprehend that? It means Jesus loves homosexuals as well as homosapiens. He even loves you—God only knows how, but He does. Christians know this. You are an idiot. Get off your high horse. Shed that arrogant attitude. It is very unbecoming. Yes, your attitude is ugly. Read the New Testament!—Peggy

Okay, Peggy, let's read it:

Slaves, obey your masters in all things. Do not obey just when they are watching you, to gain their favor, but serve them honestly, because you respect the Lord.

That slaves-obey-your-masters stuff is from Colossians. Which is in the New Testament. And its meaning is clear. Its meaning was certainly clear to "property" owners in the South who cited it to defend slavery, as was the meaning of Paul's Epistle to Philemon, which was also widely cited in the slave-era South. History lesson:

Defenders of slavery noted that in the Bible, Abraham had slaves. They point to the Ten Commandments, noting that "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house... nor his manservant, nor his maidservant." In the New Testament, Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master, and, although slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, Jesus never spoke out against it... Defenders of slavery argued that the institution was divine, and that it brought Christianity to the heathen from across the ocean. Slavery was, according to this argument, a good thing for the enslaved.

When was the last time we heard that slavery-was-good-for-slaves argument? Oh, right: In July of 2011. In Iowa. And the person making that argument? A rightwing fundamentalist Christian bigot preacher who has—wait for it—cited Sodom to justify his anti-gay bigotry. (The story of Sodom & Gomorrah is in Genesis! Old Testament! Old Testament!)

So much for the ducks in their barrels. Now here's an email much more thoughtful Christian...

Your discussion of Scripture lacks any regard whatsoever for progressive revelation; this is to say that God revealed himself and his word in various matters over a span of many years and that revelation has real historical & cultural considerations which must be taken into account.... Your treatment of slavery is guilty of semantic anachronism; simply, you've read a modern, African-American-oppressive (or Nazi-Jew, etc) preconceived notion of slavery into an earlier description of slavery. Not only that, but you've made the text out to say something it does not—that it endorses the above-referenced evil slavery of the Civil War era. A cursory examination of the New Testament makes it clear that such a type of slavery is wrong and explicitly anti-Christian. (Matthew 7:12, Col 4:1, John 13:34.) While such a slavery no doubt existed at the time [the Bible was being written], the type of slavery which is mainly dealt with by the apostle Paul is more of an indentured servitude which may be voluntary or involuntary and is more akin to a work apprenticeship in most cases.—Josh

Paul never makes a distinction between "good" slavery (voluntary or involuntary servitude) and "bad" slavery (American-style slavery, a kind of slavery that "existed at the time" Paul was writing but that Paul—and Jesus—failed to condemn). Pious Christian slave owners in the Civil War Era did not regard slavery as anti-Christian. Quite the opposite. And the Bible was widely taught and read in the slave-owning 19th Century. (As it was in the slave-owning 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries.) Presumably Christian slave owners in the South had made more than a "cursory examination" of the New Testament. Did they miss those "explicitly" anti-slavery passages? Or did less ambiguous pro-slavery passages leap out at 'em first? (I wrote back to Josh to ask him if he takes "progressive revelation" into account—to say nothing of "historical & cultural considerations"—when he examines what the Bible appears to say about homosexuality. I'll post his response when he writes back.)

The people who use the Bible to justify the oppression of LGBT people today are just as wrong as the people who used the Bible to justify the institution of slavery then.

The people who use the Bible to justify the oppression of LGBT people today are just as wrong as the people who used the Bible to justify the institution of slavery then.
  • Crucifixion of Jesus Christ via Shutterstock
  • The people who use the Bible to justify the oppression of LGBT people today are just as wrong as the people who used the Bible to justify the institution of slavery then.
In fairness: Christian opponents of slavery in the United States also cited the Bible. Modern Christians who are uncomfortable with the Bible's clear and unambiguous support for and acceptance of slavery—or those who aren't aware of it (because they're incapable of Googling "New Testament" and "slavery" for themselves)—will sometimes toss this fact down like a trump card. But while the actions of Christians who fought slavery speaks well of them, their actions do not exonerate the Bible or erase "slaves obey your masters" from the New Testament. The Bible got slavery wrong. It got other things right—Golden Rule, Greatest Commandment, don't wear white after Labor Day—and, yes, some people were inspired to combat what the Bible got wrong (slavery's okay) with what the Bible got right (we are all brothers in Christ). The lesson here? The Bible is a sprawling and contradictory text that got some stuff wrong—some very big stuff—and sometimes bad people misuse the Bible to justify bigotry, hatred, oppression and persecution and sometimes good people use the Bible to fight bigotry, hatred, and oppression.

Summing up: LGBT people are being attacked by bad people who are waving Bibles over their heads. They claim they have no choice but to persecute us because of what it says in the Bible. We have a right to crack open that same Bible and ask... what about the rest of it then? We have a right to point out the hypocrisy.

And where I'm from "pointing out" a failure of reason—and humanity—is known as "calling bullshit."

I only had a limited amount of time to work on this post. If anyone out there reading has the time to dig up other examples of anti-gay "Christian" bigots citing Leviticus, drop 'em in the comments thread.


Comments (198) RSS

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I call bullshit on the letter including this bit:

"A cursory examination of the New Testament makes it clear that such a type of slavery is wrong and explicitly anti-Christian. (Matthew 7:12, Col 4:1, John 13:34.)"

Matthew 7:12 is the golden rule and John 13:34 is the command to love one another. Neither say anything specifically about slavery. In fact, both of those passages could be just as easily cited as an argument to treat homosexuals equally. Col 4:1 says to treat your slaves fairly. It doesn't say free them or to not have slaves. Take the three together and the New Testament says that slavery's fine as long as you're nice to your slaves.
Posted by mirth on July 10, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Ba of O 215
"But tell me, how can someone say they hate homosexuality, but don't hate someone for whom homosexuality is an inherent part of their makeup? It's like saying someone doesn't hate black people, they just hate people being black."

Its because some Christians are still suffering under the delusion that homosexuality is a choice, not something you are born with and can't change.
Posted by Ba of O on June 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM · Report this
By what authority do modern xtians now conclude that they can dismiss the first half of their Iron Age holy books?
Posted by ctmcmull on May 31, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
I am reminded of a comment by Abraham Lincoln (paraphrasing): "I have never seen anyone take advantage of the good of slavery by choosing to be a slave himself".
Posted by KINCAID on May 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Report this
This canard about defending Roman slavery in order to justify even worse condemnation of Southern slavery is absolutely wrong.

Romans CRUCIFIED slaves. They raped, tortured, and killed them without any penalty whatsoever. In the South slave owners were PROSECUTED for severely injuring a slave. Some planter were EXECUTED themselves for killing a slave.

In Rome it is true that slaves could buy their freedom. Perhaps you did not know that slaves in the South could also buy their freedom? In fact, nearly 10% of blacks in the South population were 'freedmen' at any time.

Roman slavery did not relentlessly teach the racial inferiority of the slaves as was done in South, but this attempt to sugarcoat Roman practices as a way to further condemn Southern slavery is as transparent as Christian apologists "judging" (judge not lest you be judged) homosexuals over a a plate of shellfish (if a man lies with a man it is an abomination; do not eat shellfish, it is an abomination unto the Lord).

Get your history right.
Posted by Professor on May 14, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
I'm a believer who is sympathetic to Savage's point(s) about the selective application of OT law. But I do think he misses (or underemphasizes) an important point: the early church specifically maintained the prohibition on "sexual immorality" (Acts 15). This is why sexual acts are different from shellfish. If you're going to make Dan's argument, you need to address that as well.

The straightforward answer is that the church leadership at that time was doing what Jesus had instructed them to do: binding and loosing, allowing & disallowing. What they were not doing was hermetically sealing the Truth in mayonaise jar under Funk & Wagnalls' porch for all time. But that is how the current church views scripture, and THAT is the real problem. They have created a definition of Scripture that Scripture doesn't even say about itself.
Posted by beggar on May 7, 2012 at 5:34 AM · Report this
westburbswimmer 209
Good point that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality but treatment of strangers and neglect of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49). many of those goons know that and will never out and out say that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality. Every time one of them says that the acceptance of gay people will bring the judgement of God on our nation, they use the fact that there is a general feeling among most people that homosexuality was the sin of Sodom. It is a sin of omission to not correct it. And a study of what types of things will bring the judgement of God will show that the most consistent things mentioned are neglect of the poor and not treating aliens in the land with respect (Republican policy supported by the supposed Christians anyone?)

But for anyone that brings it up, I tell them that I'll accept that the the story of Sodom is appropriate to apply to our modern day public policy if they will apply the rest of the story as well. After all Lot, the hero, offered up his young virgin daughters to be raped. God does not condemn this. In fact Lot is still the hero and still saved from the destruction. We have laws against that in our country. Should they be changed to allow parents to force their daughters into sex? This is consistent with much of the Bible, Old and New Testament. There is far more in the Bible that reinforce the notion that women are mere property than the entire subject of homosexuality. Shouldn't our laws then make women property?

And we can't forget that the story ends with Lot's daughters having sex with him. What do we make of that?
Posted by westburbswimmer on May 6, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
There were certainly some freedmen who did very well for themselves. For a glimpse, as well as a laugh, look up Cena Trimalchionis. Certainly others who never achieved the status of freedman, who didn't do very fucking well at all.

Here, educate yourselves.…
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on May 4, 2012 at 10:50 PM · Report this
When wrestling with apparent contradictions in the Bible it is always good to remember Proverbs 26:4-5;
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. (KJV)
Posted by d.m.stone on May 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
kim in portland 206
@ Frankzzz,

Sorry to read of your eyesight issues and of your frustrations with your eldest's choices at the moment.

Venomlash told you that he is a Jew. The NT is part of the Christian faith. Perhaps, just my own thought, Micah 6:8 could offer some insight. Venomlash is more equipped to answer your questions.

I'm not sure what your saying about choice. I can guess that you are saying that you capable of believing that being gay is a choice, perhaps obligated by your faith, and not allow that belief to permit you to discriminate, harass, advocate against your LGBT brothers and sisters? And, you can emphathize with our Fourtunate, because your work enviornment is hostile to Christianity which means you get harassed? Maybe you are saying that you want the opportunity to learn from your LGBT brothers and sisters to understand what they mean by it is not a choice, because that continually comes into conflict with what you have grown up with, been taught, and is intertwined with your faith? Maybe you are asking to be judged by your actions and you would like others to do the same with regard to your being a Christian? If my musings are but a bit accurate, then I would kindly recommend that you deeply understand the community you are commenting in now has many, many LGBT people who have been deeply wounded (physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually) and discriminated against by people who identified themselves as Christians. And, it can be a bit rough to hear the expressions of hurt and to remind yourself that if you are not that Christian, then they are not talking to you. And, I truly understand that it is hard, especially if your identity has come inseparable from your faith to you. Being here can teach you the importance of turning ones cheek. You will need to trust that they are not directing things specifically towards you. And you'll have to wait for them to see your character and to see your unwillingness to tolerate their being mistreated. These are my suggestions.

Good luck on your journey. Please be mindful of your health and make sure you're getting enough rest.

Kind regards,
Posted by kim in portland on May 4, 2012 at 7:56 AM · Report this
Fortunate 205
"You are doing exactly what you claim I am doing - negating my personal experiences I have had through Christianity."

No, I'm not.

I am talking about fact vs.. fiction.

You said that gay people shouldn't get upset when you say that being gay is a choice because that is simply your belief.

But not all beliefs are equally sacrosanct.

You believe in God and Christianity and all that, and that is your right.

However facts are facts. You can believe that God will hold you up if you step off a building, but if you do you will fall. You can believe that the earth is flat, but the earth isn't flat.

It is one thing to talk about your belief in your own subjective experiences. It is another when you deny facts or the experiences of others.

Because if you are straight then you have NO personal experience with actually being gay. How can you tell someone that they chose to be gay when you are not that person and that person tells you that they didn't?

I don't believe in your god or religion, but where, exactly, have I negated your experience? I haven't. I have argued against your illogic and your false statements of fact, but I have not, even once, addressed your experience.

But when you tell me that I chose to be gay you are telling me that I don't know my own experiences, and also that I am lying.

Where am I intolerant against Christian? My only intolerance against Christians is when Christians try to impose their beliefs on others through legislation.

You can believe what you want, but when you are wrong I will point it out. You are wrong that gay people chose to be gay.

You can insult people all you want, but when you call me a liar you have no right to expect I will accept that and keep my mouth shut.

I have never pushed for legislation to deny rights to Christians.

I have never tried to harm a Christian.

I have never suggested that Christians are mentally ill.

I have never denied anyone the right to pray, attend church, or adhere to any beliefs they want to.

What I have done is point out when people misrepresent me, lie about me, and hold false beliefs about me. You can adhere to your beliefs. You can believe I am a liar who chose to be gay but for some reason wants to deny that, but it is not true and I will not let that falsehood go unchallenged.

Christians make up the majority of people in this country. Over 90% of the elected officials in government are Christian. Christians have the most privilege in this country over anyone else.

You should have to experience real discrimination once in a while to see how good you have it, so forgive me if I don't give you sympathy over all the oppression you face as a member of the ruling class of people in this country.

As I already said, if so many Christians didn't use their religion and the Bible as a weapon against others then others wouldn't have any reason to attack back. When you use something as a weapon against others you invite retaliation. You make your weapons targets.

If you are upset at people criticizing Christianity, the Bible, and Christians in general then don't get mad at the people fighting back. Get mad at the Christians who are initiating the attacks and inviting the retaliation.

Let me say this again so you will understand.

I wouldn't care, think about, or talk about Christians' beliefs, practices or anything else if it weren't for the fact that so many Christians use their religion to attack, oppress, and lie about others. Do you really think I enjoy spending my time thinking and fighting against Christianity? I would much prefer that Christians and everyone else leave each other alone. But far too many Christians don't, and so forces the rest of us to defend ourselves. And then when we defend ourselves you cry persecution and act like WE are the ones being mean towards YOU.

When you say that I chose to be gay (not that it should matter regarding equal treatment since after all Christianity is chosen as well), you are not just expressing a believe. You are lying about me and misrepresenting my actual experience.

So again I say, how is that different than if I claimed you didn't really believe in Christianity? Because although I don't believe in Christianity I have never denied the sincerity of those who say they do, nor denied their experience. I only deny it when they blatantly lie about things.

So tell me, how am I denying your experience when I tell you that you are wrong about me choosing to be gay? What, exactly, is your so called personal experience regarding my life, my mind, and my choices? Unless you are living in my head or the head of other gay people then you have NO personal experience on this issue, and when you say that gay people chose to be gay you are NOT talking about personal experiences. You are talking about something you don't know anything about. When we say you are wrong we are not negating your pesonal experience because this isn't a personal experience for you. YOU haven't experienced it.

Everyone has a right to their opinion. No one has the right to make up their own "facts".
Posted by Fortunate on May 4, 2012 at 7:41 AM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 204
What do you say to the OT/NT hypocrites?

Throw out the OT? Sure! Does that mean we can forget Creation, the Fall, Original Sin, the Ten Commandments, and all those *cough*"prophesies"*cough* that Jesus "miraculously fulfilled?

The NT is all about "love" and "compassion?" Sure. Except Hell. Remember that? The thing Jesus introduced to us when he told us about a place where fire burns and never consumes? The place where the worm eats but never dies? That place? So loving and sweet I could shit myself.

Oh, the NT. The superbible with all its stories about scorpions with women's hair and lion's manes and anhels with six wings and great beasts that rule the earth and whores who ride dragons and give birth to rivers of blood. Such a story for the whole damned family.
Posted by HellboundAlleee on May 4, 2012 at 6:48 AM · Report this
If someone believes that they only need to do more good stuff than bad stuff:
1) how could anyone have any idea what their standing is?
2) this could lead to careless transgressions based on the belief you can later make amends by working the soup kitchen an extra day.

I am not mocking your belief. The new testament also speak against "continuing in sin" or sinning with the belief that it's no big deal because you will be forgiven.

Hebrews 10:26-27
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice of sins is left But only a fearful expectation of judgement And of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 4, 2012 at 12:01 AM · Report this
Where does the scriptures say your sins are weighted against your merits?
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 11:27 PM · Report this
venomlash 201
@200: No person can adhere perfectly to Mosaic Law. (Disregarding, of course, that many of the 613 commandments require the existence of the Temple.) This is because humans are imperfect.
We Jews believe that our sins will be weighted against our own merits and mitzvot, not against the sacrifice of someone else. And I personally consider this to be the biggest theological issue with Christianity: that someone else can atone for an individual's sins. It removes individual responsibility and opens the door to careless transgression. According to Maimonides, a sin committed with the expectation that God will forgive it will not be forgiven.
Posted by venomlash on May 3, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this

You are partially right. The Bible suggests a checklist (you word not mine), the Law, which No person COULD adhere to. That was the whole purpose of the Old Covenant - to show us that we cannot have salvation through our own actions. The New Covenant shows us we can have salvation through the grace of Christ Jesus.
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
You didn't say exactly what I predicted, but not too far off. Kinda ironic - maybe I have more sense than you give me credit for.

You are doing exactly what you claim I am doing - negating my personal experiences I have had through Christianity. You can't just let me believe what I have chosen to believe, because my choice offends you.

Even if I don't directly insult you or attack you in any way. How is that different from gay bashers who want to force you to abide by their beliefs?

I have already seen it posted here many times, that Christians shouldn't be allowed to believe what they chose (I'm paraphrasing). Christianity should come to an end, etc. That is called hypocrisy, no matter how you word it. You believe that you have the right to your own set of morals, but are intolerant of mine,

You claim that gays know best about gays. But that gays also know best about Christians. If you can't see the attitude of superiority, prejudice and intolerance in that, then I don't know what to say, I truly believe that intolerance only leads tp more intolerance. There are certainly intolerant (so-called) Christians that bring out anger in others. I believe that intolerance towards Christians also brings out anger in response. If you expect Christians to just say, "yes you are so much more
superior than me" and to abandon their faith, then your expectations are unrealistic. What happens in five years when Christians don't change their beliefs to suit you. More insults? More attacks? What do you think the results will be? When will it stop? Is this what everyone wants?
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Report this
Fortunate 198
"The biggest issue that I have about any of what you guys have said is that if I say "I don't believe being gay is a choice", no matter what my actions actually are, I beleive the response would be that I am a closed minded Christian and a horrible person because of my beliefs."

I think you meant "I do believe being gay is a choice". If you didn't believe being gay is a choice that would be in line with what we are saying.

Here is the real problem. Claiming someone being gay is a choice isn't just a matter of opinion. It is either true or it isn't. Now who knows better if it is a choice, you are a gay person?

Because if you say being gay is a choice to a gay person who says that they didn't choose it then you are saying you know them better than they know themselves, and that their experiences aren't valid.

You don't get to decide that other people's experiences aren't true.

Do I get to say that you don't really believe in Christianity because no one really does, and that it is just a compensation method for dealing with trauma? Would you not take umbrage at that?

Sorry, but you don't get to have the right to be unchallenged about your beliefs when those beliefs attempt to completely negate the personal experiences of the people you are talking about.
Posted by Fortunate on May 3, 2012 at 10:06 PM · Report this
ean 197
Dan, maybe you were a bit hard on those kids; after all you are the grown up. I'm sure you've given that lots of thought by now. However, you are dead right that the book suggests a checklist that (almost) no modern person would adhere to. Christians are picking and choosing what to follow, which makes the choice to hate just that: a choice. You're right on, if occasionally in-eloquent, and the thinkers out here know it.
Posted by ean on May 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM · Report this
As far as what Megaera said about hate being too strong a word for reefing to actions:
I guess I can see that when people deal with real haters a lot. While I'm not claiming to have gone through what people here have experienced, I can tell you that I do have to worry about what I say. Even though I work at a university in the South, it really is a very liberal place and I do worry about how some of my coworkers view me and get offendEd just by me being a Christian. I honestly don't shove it in anyone's face, but that doesn't really matter to some people. I am inherently evil because I am a Christian. It's not a big deal what they think about meas a person, but I worry more what they think of Christians.

Even though there are different aspects about the intensity of the word hate, I really do "hate" some of the actions of my oldest son and in this case, it is a pretty strong hate. I hate (with a passion) that he is wasting his abilities and hate even more that my wife and I are largely responsible. Too much to explain well, but it's not one of those cases where I'm an unreasonable dad who wants my 21 year old son to be perfect. He is extremely smart, but extremely lazy, and always has an excuse. It's usually the professors fault. Those damn professors always give him bad instructions, badly word exams and quizzes, expect too much, or have an accent that he can't understand. I don't care if he is a mechanic, a farmer, an artist, or a doctor. But I really hate to see him waste opportunities to succeed at whatever he wants, and I worry that unless and until he stops blaimng everyone else, he will succeed at nothing. He has a lot of wonderful traits, but his tendency to blame everyone else dominates his life. My health is not good and I worry what will happen to him if I die soon.

I also have an 18 year old son who had/has learning disabilities (tourette's and dislexia) hates school and has a 3.7 GPA in high school. By the way, he is also very doubtful about Christianity, "hates" the concept of hell, but has the best work ethic of anyone I know. He is iin excellent phisical condition because of his self-discipline. Him, I'm not too worried about, because I believe that anyone who honestly searches for truth will find it. Just told you about this one to show you I'm not an unreasonable republican (not any kind of republican) who expects my oldest son to do things just to suit me. I also have a 16 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. Just told you that because it's part of who I am - and I'm very proud of all my kids, even the slack one.

Maybe this is TMI. I don't know if this illustrates what I mean when I use the word "hate" in refering to actions, but still loving the person.

I do enjoy discussing things with you all. I think if people thoughtfully discuss issues, it helps them to reexamine and refine their beliefs.
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM · Report this
Sorry about your eyes. My eyesight sucks pretty bad but isn't as bad as yours. After years of doctors telling me that it was just allergies, they finally discovered that I have an irregular astigmatism that can't be corrected by glasses because of something to do with the distance between the lens and my eyes. Contacts fix me right up, but I have a lot of irritation with my eyes, which are allergies and I can't stand to wear contacts sometimes. I do a lot of typos and people usually make fun of me. Then I reply and ask them how is that English degree working out - which usually results in more insults - from English teachers.

Anyway, thanks for your comments.
You guys are helping me look at thongs differently. No not thongs - things. Damn eyes!

I would like to respond to your comments about choices, but if I tried right now, I would not be able to explain myself well - because that is a completely different discussion that would take me a whike t get into.

The biggest issue that I have about any of what you guys have said is that if I say "I don't believe being gay is a choice", no matter what my actions actually are, I beleive the response would be that I am a closed minded Christian and a horrible person because of my beliefs. In that respect, I think my right to my own beliefs is being disregarded. I think that is very much like me saying gays have no right to believe certain things. I may disagree, but I would never claim gays had no right to believe what they want to, I think this may be what Tim is trying to say, but I'm not sure. I am going on about 1/3 of the sleep I need for the last 3 days and your West Coast time doesn't help. The first time I posted a comment here - a few days ago - I thought it was about 2:00 am because of the timestamp on the comment, then I looked at the time and couldn't figure out how I lost 3 hours. It took me two days to figure it out, Duh!
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
@186- off topic and blatantly fallacious. No one here is endorsing slavery of any kind, and our words about ancient slavery are in response to blatantly inaccurate statements from an email quoted in the original post. Also, no one here is bashing Christians who are out there helping the poor and oppressed. We're bashing those Christians who use their faith as a lame excuse to bash gays. If you stopped gay bashing and used your time and energy helping the poor and oppressed, we wouldn't have a problem with you.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on May 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this

My appologies. No, I'm afraid I didn't notice that you qualified you statement son Chrisitans seval times. This wasn't intentional or careless. I currently use my iPad when I am at home, and I have to scroll back and forth when looking at comments and posting my own. Also your original response to me did say "If Christians don't want non-Christians to...they should.." and other statements that weren't qualified. I wasn't trying to be selective in what I was responding to - those comments probably drew my attention more quickly.

One thing that this makes me realize though, is how utterly difficult it is to discuss some things - especially on line. I try to be very careful when I make statements so I don't inadvertently attribute actions to all of some group. You likewise, shouldn't have to walk on eggshells to have a conversation. Unfortunately, our society has got to the point where it is easy for people to really misunderstand someone's intention - and this is probably due to the actions of haters that are constantly on the loose.

It's also due to this technology which is both a blessing and a curse. I pretty much hate computers even though I am an academic advisor in a computer science department and teach computer science course. I'm just a peon - not a faculty member.

Anyway I do appreciate you effort to explain things to me. And I do understand what you mean when you say that being gay is who you are. (not sure if that was your exact words). I don't know if I can clarify my thoughts, but I'll try. As far as hating the sin and loving the sinner : People who say they hate your actions, but not you are not looking at you actions as being part of you, even if you define yourself in this manner. That being the case, can you then understand that they can in fact hate your actions and still love you, because they are making a distinction that you aren't? If they agreed that your actions were an intricate part of you, then they wouldn't be able to say that.
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 3, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
kim in portland 192
Dear Tim1584,

I would respectfully suggest that you stop with hyperbole. And stop with blanket statements of what people think about on anything but your own opinion on a subject. I'd also respectfully suggest that you learn to accept that everyone does not reach the same conclusion, nor are they morally obligated to accept your opinion as truth on any subject including the Bible. I'd also suggest you take the chip off your shoulder that comes across in your writing, but, alas, I think you enjoy it. I gave you the benefit of the doubt
and you, by your writing style, appear to be determined to show me that you're an assumptive, judgmental, and prideful person.

I would also respectfully suggest that you pay close attention to the words "in the" within Dan's statements about the Bible, because he didn't call the Bible bullshit. Others did. Try and remember that opinions are like hearts and everyone has their own.

I disagree that being gay, in and of itself, is anymore sinful than being straight. And, I do not agree that the Bible obligates me to believe so.

If you want to continue to expend both your emotional and intellectual energy playing apologetics over slavery in the Bible. Please continue, but you will be addressing yourself. It is obvious, to me, that it is important that you believe that the Bible does not condone slavery and it just provided guidelines on how to treat slaves in a fallen world. You clearly need to believe that. I don't. I've read the Bible myself, numerous times, and co-wrote studies for a Protestant evangelical ministry.

As to your fondness for shellfish. I don't care either way. I have no desire to call you names over it. Allowing a piece of text tell you what you can or cannot do is your business. If you are not at peace about it than I'll offer you my sympathies. I hope you can reconcile it if it troubles you.

Good luck with your efforts to bring an end to the sex trade. We can both work to make real changes without agreeing on other subjects. To fight against injustice is honorable, in my opinion.

Kind regards. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Posted by kim in portland on May 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM · Report this
Thanks Kim. I appreciate that. :) However everyone on your side thinks that, how should I put it... the Bible is full of bullshit because it didn't spend every page between Genesis and Revelation speaking out against slavery. (hyperbole, I know - but used to make a point) The Bible wasn't written as a guidebook for how the world should be. It was written to guide us on how to live our lives in a fallen world that was full of sin and horrible things such as slavery. It wasn't intended to tell governments how to operate or businesses how to employ people but to speak to individuals. I would think that someone who claims to have actually studied the Bible, as Dan Savage claims, would be able to comprehend a point as salient as that. And yes, if the hypocrites in the South in the 17th, 18th and 19th century had actually read the Bible and understood it on a deeper level than they would have realized it too and come to the conclusion that those crazy Bible thumpers in the North who were risking their lives to free runaway slaves came to. Slavery is wrong. And if many of the people that call themselves Christian today would read it and understand it they too would realize that while the Bible does say the act of homosexuality is a sin we are all sinners and need to worry more about ourselves than condemning others. But now I suppose I'm a moron because I stated that the Bible claims homosexuality is a sin and I like shrimp and crab...
Posted by Tim1584 on May 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM · Report this
kim in portland 190
Would you like a gold star, Tim1584?

Considered yourself awarded one.

And. Yes. One can support and advocate for multiple causes at the same time.

You wouldn't wish to stop making assumptions, would you? You come across a tad judgmental and sanctimonious. And, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you really intended to emphasize how important this issue is to you. It is an important issue and worthy of your support. I hope you continue.
Posted by kim in portland on May 3, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Fortunate 189
"Now then, would I be justified to assume that you all support this current attrocity?"

No. But then, unlike the Bible, we are not actively telling slaves to submit to their masters, giving instructions on how to sell people, or giving people directions on how to properly beat their slaves.

The Bible doesn't condone slavery just because it doesn't clearly condemn it. It condones it because it actively condones it. It tells you how to treat slaves and it tells slaves, blatantly, that they should be content with their lot.

"And they're not doing it because they hate gays but because they love Jesus. What are you doing? Whining about why you can't get married to your life partner."

You have no idea what others are doing.

First, what a crock that just because there are great atrocities in the world people shouldn't fight for their rights? Black people in the US were fighting for their lives while people starved in Africa. Would you have suggested they should have stayed in the back of the bus until world hunger was solved? Of course not.

The fight for marriage equality has nothing to do with the salve trade. But your assumption that the people you don't like do nothing else for anyone is biased. You also neglect that many gay people are members of churches, going out and helping people.

Your holier than thou attitude very much supports the things I have been saying, so thanks. The judgment is just dripping off your post.

It's great that there are churches out there fighting the slave trade. But if they are also hating on gay people that doesn't give them a pass. They get a thumbs up for fighting slavery and a thumbs down for oppressing gay people. You don't get a free pass on the bad you do just because you did other good.

If you want to be considered good then be good to everyone.
Posted by Fortunate on May 3, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Geni 188
I love people who try to claim Biblical inerrancy and then talk about how you're going to a Hell that was created by a 15th-century Italian poet.
Posted by Geni on May 3, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
Fortunate 187
No need to apologize. I found your thoughts interesting.

I think the only thing that really reaches people is to put a face on the issues. It is easy for people to do things like call us sinners, or deny us rights, when we are some abstract concept to them.

It is when we force them to recognize the harm they are doing to real people that it kicks in people's empathy. People can be cold and calculating when they are dealing with a political question. When that political question starts to negatively impact the lives of people they know and can see then that can change everything.
Posted by Fortunate on May 3, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
It's interesting how many posts discuss slavery two thousand years ago with the tone that they are experts on the subject. Regardless, the concept that the Bible does not ever specifically call slavery bad means that it must accept it as being legitimate. Fair enough. How many posts here have spoken up against the kidnapping of young girls and boys in Asia who are sold as sex slaves today not two thousand years ago? How many people in this thread have even read about the slavery that is going on today and written a letter to the editor, posted on facebook or commented on the situation anywhere online or in public? Are you all then in favor of the sex slave trade that is going on now? How many of you have put bumber stickers on your car next to the rainbow flags and the Tibet stickers to speak out about the current sex slave trade? Anyone... anyone? Now then, would I be justified to assume that you all support this current attrocity? No, I wouldn't. However there are multiple Christian organizations with committed Christians out there that are risking their lives to stop this horrid attrocity. And they're not doing it because they hate gays but because they love Jesus. What are you doing? Whining about why you can't get married to your life partner. Nice...
Posted by Tim1584 on May 3, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Megaera 185
Thanks for your reply. I'm afraid I didn't actually see your last-but-one post before I posted mine: I had written most of it when my mum phoned for a lengthy chat about her memoir, and I completed and posted it later. (My (Christian) mum is still talking to me, but she won't talk to, or about, my partner of 3 years, which makes our conversations rather one-sided...)

At any rate, I only read your post after I had posted mine, and of course it made my post redundant (especially since you made a much more salient point than mine!). So, my apologies. I can see how it seemed that I was speaking for you, when you are clearly more than capable of speaking for yourself. Mostly, I guess, I was speaking from my own pain, and the pain I have seen in the LGBT community online, particularly in the States.

I keep hoping to find a way to reach the depths of empathy that I hope most phobic Christians - in common with most other humans - have within them. There must *be* a way to get people to look outside of themselves and understand the experiences of others, mustn't there? But clearly, I need to work on that in myself, too. :P Please forgive the intrusion.
Posted by Megaera on May 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Exodus 23:9 for those Christians in Arizona - "Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
Posted by Mr. Ed on May 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Fortunate 183
Again, I never said my orientation is the most important part of me.

Sexual orientation, anyone's be they straight, gay, bi or what ever, is a fundamental part of who they are and it informs all the parts of them. Sexual orientation isn't something that sits in a little box in your brain separated from all the other parts of you. There are many parts of you that, if changed, would change the fundamental nature of who you are, and sexual orientation is just one, but no less important.

You are right in that straight people often don't have to think about it because they have the luxury of not thinking about. But it isn't that gay people are forced to consider sexual orientation the most significant part of us.

I think most of us recognize the place it plays in our lives better than many straight people might, but in the end our sexual orientation is no more and no less important a part of our lives than a heterosexuals. I just think that most gay people recognize that it isn't insignificant or incidental to who we are the way that many heterosexuals seem to, because they never had to truly experience denying that part of themselves and seen the effect of doing that has on their lives.

I found your comments about kids interesting. Not having kids myself I found it an easy to understand distinction between feeling negative and hating something. That said, plenty of parent do hate their kids. It is sad but true.

The difficulty is in trying to put this all on the other foot so people can see what it is like to be on the receiving end of all this.

I guess the best I can do is to suggest that straight people who claim to hate homosexuality but not homosexuals try to imagine how it would feel if someone actively and convincingly told them that they hated their marriage, and the fact that they were married to their spouse, and had children with them. That they didn't hate them as people, but that all the most important and significant things in their lives (and I think most people would count their spouse and children as at least among the most important things in their lives) were detestable to them, if they would really accept the idea that these people loved them.

Because here is the thing. Intention is irrelevant. Hate and love both have little to do with intention and everything to do with effect. We like to couch them in terms of being feelings, but they are more importantly actions. Love and hate are as much, if not more so, about how we treat each other and what effect our actions have on another. And people can pat themselves on the back all they want for not feeling hate, but when they act in ways that cause others harm unnecessarily, and that make people feel like crap, that is hate regardless of what is going on in that person's head and feelings.

That's what the Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner line of thinking has on gay people. You can't say you love me if you are harming me. I don't care what is going on in your head. And that is what Frankzzz doesn't seem to get. You can't insult my relationships and expect me not to take it personally. You can't interfere in my life in a negative way without me viewing you in a negative way. Anyone who can't see that has drunk the koolaid.
Posted by Fortunate on May 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
154 - Mr. Horton, you asked, "Do you vote for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage? Or do you support the rights of GLBT people?" I think a key to this argument is how do you define "rights"? Mirriam Webster defines it as "legally or morally exactable". Legally exactable in a representative republic such as the U.S. simply depends on the will of the people. If we look at it as "morally exactable" then is it moral? And then what defines moral and immoral? If you say that I am not for LGBT "rights" by allowing gay marriage then you are denying my the ability to define what I view as moral and immoral. But in America we are free to decide for ourselves what is moral and what is immoral are we not? What I find interesting among liberal arguments is how they can tell everybody to stay out of their lives but are constantly demanding to delve into what their opponents have decided is moral or immoral. Is not the creation of a system of morality a deeply personal held viewpoint? But the gay community that claims to be so open-minded and loving cannot comprehend that a thinking, intelligent person may actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and make decisions of morality on that basis. That seems very close-minded and bigoted to me. But marriage is not a "right". I have the right to fall in love but I don't have the right to marry the person I fall in love with. Marriage requires the consent of two people and therefore can not be by definition an individual right. If the person I love does not love me back are they denying me my "right" to marry them? Of course not. I have the right to speak my mind. I have the right to believe whatever it is I want to believe. I do not have the "right" to get married.

As far as marriage is concerned I struggle to understand why the gay community would want to be married? Do you want to be subjected to the marriage penalty in the tax code? I've known plenty of heterosexuals who made a mess of their lives because they entered into a legal contract of marriage and regret doing so. I've had this discussion with my sister, who disagrees with me, multiple times and she's made arguments such as, "Gay people cannot visit their partners in hospitals or make medical decisions for them the way that a married couple can." I'm not a lawyer but I would imagine that there are legal recourses around that such as a simple POA with defined limits. Regardless the argument is not with the legal definition of marriage but with hospital policies. Introduce a law forcing hospitals to give gay partners the same powers that married couples have and I'll be all for it. Changing the definition of a societally accepted institution that's been around for thousands of years is a slippery slope. Furthermore do you deny Mormons or Muslims the "right" to marry as many women as they want or do you see a potential problem with that? What about children? Do you deny them the "right" to get married? Should we have 6 years old pledging to love and honor till death do us part? Do you deny a 30 year old man the "right" to marry a 10 year old girl or boy? What if my neighbor demands the "right" to marry his dog? In the end I would imagine that you would place limits on who has the "right" to marry and I would not consider you a hypocrite for doing so even if your own argument and statements would.

Finally, it is not the Christian Conservatives that are "passing laws". The law defining marriage has been in place since the founding of this country and it is those on the left that are passing legislation to change that, not my side. You stated, "While it would sure be nice for you to stop passing judgment on whom they choose to love, the real battle is for you to stop passing laws that interfere with their health and safety." I do not pass judgement on who you can love. You are free to love whomever you want. I am curious to find out why you feel the need for a legal document in order to love someone though? You even said previously in your post that you don't need my blessing so I'm conflicted, do you need it or not? Furthermore the whole "don't judge me" argument is ridiculous. If by saying I disagree with you means that I am judging you then we need to have a discussion on rhetoric and not gay marriage. And if you still feel that way then don't judge me for excercising the right to believe what I want to believe. Neither is the law "interfering with [your] health and safety". If marriage is a requirement for health and safety there are a lot of sick and unsafe single people out there.
Posted by Tim1584 on May 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Megaera 180
@Frankzzz: As a parent, I think I understand what you are trying to convey WRT children and their actions. However, to me, 'hate' is far too strongly negative a word to describe how I feel towards my children's actions, and honestly, I cannot understand how a person *can* 'hate' the actions of a person they truly love - unless those actions have caused serious suffering to someone else.

Of course I do have negative feelings when my children do things which I regard to be wrong. Those feelings include embarrassment, frustration, irritation, anger and concern for their future. But I would never categorize them as 'hate'. Perhaps if my child was an active paedophile, a torturer or a murderer, then I would 'hate' their actions. But honestly, I think it would take that much.

When you say that Fortunate is selling themself short, I think perhaps you may not understand how much the society we live in *forces* LGBT people to live as though their relationships and orientation are, in fact, the most significant part of them, and certainly the part that they have to think about the most, on a daily basis.

I'm assuming here (perhaps wrongly) that you have never had to fight for the freedom to express your heterosexuality; have never deeply loved a partner you did not have the legal right to marry; have never been refused marriage rites by your minister, simply because your relationship is heterosexual; have never been taunted or told you are evil just because of who you love; have never had a parent beat you, throw you out of your home penniless or refuse to speak to you for years, simply because of who you love; have never been rejected by long-term friends when they found out you were heterosexual.

I'm assuming that you feel free to hold your wife's hand when you walk down the street, or to kiss her goodbye in public, secure in the knowledge that this simple act is highly unlikely to end with both of you being beaten to a pulp or murdered.

I'm assuming you don't have to worry about how to meet your spouse's hospital bills, since she is on your insurance; don't have to panic about whether she will be OK financially after you die, since she is automatically your heir and there are no family members who would argue that she has no right to inherit your property; and that when she is in hospital, nobody will try to stop you visiting her, or speak to you disrespectfully when they realise that your spouse is the opposite sex to yourself. I'm assuming that you don't have to worry, when you leave that hospital, whether your spouse may be treated less well by the nurses now that they know she is heterosexual. I'm assuming that you are secure in the knowledge that, should your spouse die, you will, of course, continue to have custody of the children of your heart, whom you have raised for years.

I'm assuming you have never met someone who is easy to get along with, who you think could be a real friend, and then suddenly realised that you have to 'come out' to them, and they may not like you when you do, regardless of how well you got along together before.

I'm guessing you don't face personal rejection on a daily basis, not for anything you have done to those who reject you, or for any injury you have done to anybody else, but just for being who you are.

I'm guessing you don't have to think carefully before deciding whether to wear your favourite clothes, because those clothes could get you killed.

I hope you can come to truly understand how the orientation of an LGBT person comes to dominate their life, because of the many, daily, obstacles they face, and how completely unavoidable that is, when everything around you reinforces the idea that you do not belong, you are alien, because of this one, simple thing about you.

In an equal world, in a world *without* 'hate' either for people or for actions, it would be possible for an LGBT person to say, along with you, that their orientation is just a part of them, and not the most important part at that. But in the world we live in, where LGBT people know that to hold hands with the people they love in public is to take a personal, and perhaps terminal, risk, that is simply not possible.
Posted by Megaera on May 3, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Fortunate 179
Frankzzz:"You just blew off my comment about my children but this is very relevant to what you are claiming."

No, I'm not blowing it off. My reply was serious and honest. You are trying to suggest that a parent will not hate their child when the child does something they don't like. But I know more gay people than I can count who have been kicked out of their families, some even physically abused by their parents, and told never to speak to them again, just for being gay.

So no, I don't know how you feel about your children. I don't assume that a parent always loves their child no matter what because I have see evidence that some parents can hate their children who do things that they don't like.

But Kim pretty much nails it. Being gay isn't like stealing, or lying, or any other insulting comparison. Being gay is part of who you are.

I never said I defined myself only through being gay, so I don't know where you got that idea from. But being gay is one of the fundamental aspects of who I am. ONE of them, but fundamental still.

Our sexuality is a filter through which we interact with the world and other people. Being gay is not all there is to me, but it does influence many other aspects of me. It can't be ignored, boxed away, or excised. A person's sexuality influences much of their life, just as other aspects of them do. But these things can't be segregated out or isolated, although that is how many anti gay people like to refer to it. As if it is some insignificant part of us that we should just ignore.

So Kim is right. When you equate being gay with stealing you are suggesting that it is something that we should just chose not to be. And if you try to redefine being gay to behaviors what you are saying is that gay people should just give up on love and happiness.

That is not something that can be so flippantly equated with not stealing or some other similar lame comparison.

So when someone says they hate my being gay they are not just talking about some single action I engage in. They are saying they hate the fact that I am in a long term, loving relationship with another man. They are saying that they want me be to be single, lonely and unhappy. They are saying they hate something fundamental about me, because while being gay isn't the only aspect to my being, like all the other aspects they work together to make me who I am, and you couldn't excise the "gay" from me without fundamentally changing the person who is "me".

You can't white wash that away.

You said: " You don't even bother to say "some Christians"."

This is either a lie or you simply didn't read what I wrote with care. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you aren't trying to intentionally misrepresent what I wrote.

I wrote:

"Many Christian think it makes them humble if, after judging others, they add in that although homosexuals are sinners if they act on their natures, we are all sinners equally. They think that this makes them non-judgmental. But they are wrong."

Note the "many", not "all"?

I wrote:

" I can't speak for all Christians, but most Christians I have known I have no doubt they do, indeed, think they are better."

See the "most Christians I know", and not "all" being used there?

I wrote:

"A Christian who doesn't think they are better than others does not try to force others to their way of being."

See how this doesn't say that all Christians do this, but rather this is how you can tell if the Christian you are dealing with is one of the Christians who does?

So I still don't get your point. I clearly peppered my comments with these specifically to acknowledge that I wasn't talking about all Christians. Somehow you seem to have missed that. I am willing to accept that you made an honest mistake if you stop claiming I didn't put these qualifiers in what I wrote, which there for all to see for themselves if they wish.

Posted by Fortunate on May 3, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
Lissa 178
This is why I love Kim. She is endlessly patient. Seriously, remembering her and Venomlash and CbytheSea, etc is what's keeping my head from exploding. This whole kerfuffle has to have been particularly hard on them. They are devout people, and to have it coming at them from both sides must be shredding. That Kim and other Sloggers of faith haven't once said to the rest of us "Ouch" while we have been fighting the loons is a testament to what their faith gives them and should make these invading ass hats ashamed of themselves.
Posted by Lissa on May 3, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
Christianity has always been an insidious and opportunistic religion, telling people what they want to hear, playing fast and loose with the Law, and co-opting indigenous and pagan traditions, all for the sake of the ultimate goal: popularity.

And where these tactics failed, its followers turned to insufferable evangelic threats, missionaries and inquisitions.

Nice way to win a popularity contest.
Posted by GasparFagel on May 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
kim in portland 176
And, please pardon my numerous typos. I am visually impaired, legally blind, and sometimes my best efforts are not sufficient. I was born this way and surgical correction is not an option. And if someone was to say to me that they love me but hate visually impaired people. I'm afraid that I would believe they hated me despite all their proclamations that they loved me. I cannot choose to not be visually impaired or repent of it. I am visually impaired.
Posted by kim in portland on May 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM · Report this
kim in portland 175
@ Frankzzz

Please pardon my rudeness for interrupting. But I, perhaps wrongly, see a parallel conversation happening between you and our Fortunate.

You are saying that your love for your children is greater than their choice to steal a pack of gum. Yes? Your love for them does not disappear if on out of frustration hits the other. Yes? In my lame examples your children made a choice in their behavior. Yes? And the choice they made and their actions are what you hate. Yes?

Fortunate is saying that he is gay. Being gay is like being 6'6" tall like my husband. Being gay is like having blue eyes. Being gay is like being hearing impaired like my daughter. Being gay is like bring straight. Things like height, eye color, hearing impairments, and who we find ourselves romantically and sexually attracted to are not choices we get to make. They are intrinsic parts of who we are.

So your point that I can love my daughter and hate that she pinched a pack of gum works. I can be highly disappointed and deeply saddened by her choice to steal. I can say that I love her and I hate stealing. Yes? But, I would be a cruel mother to tell her that I love her, but I hate hearing impairment. Yes? She cannot choose to become hearing impaired. She cannot choose to not be hearing impaired. Being hearing impaired is part of who she is. Fortunate is telling you that he did not choose to be gay. Thus he cannot choose not to be gay.

We humans have many choices in life, but how we are made is not one of them.

Many Christians choose to believe that Fortunate could choose who he finds himself romantically and sexually attracted to. Just like he could choose to swip a pack of gum or not. And, unfortunately many Christians refuse to acknowledge that same-sex attractions are found in other animal species, they choose to ignore the input of science of how being gay is something that develops in utero, and most importantly they choose to ignore the testimonies of those who are gay. Too many Christians choose to think that every person is just like them and because they don't find themselves romantically or sexually attracted to someone of the same gender than it is impossible for it to be anything but a choice to be gay. Granted there are also some Christians who recognize that being romantically and sexually attracted to someone of the same gender is not a choice, but engaging in a relationship is choice and the only option for gays is to be celibate and alone. To me that is exceedingly cruel. Of course, I'd be remiss to not acknowledge individuals like myself who do not believe that either being gay or that love between LGBT people, in and of iitself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love. The argument that homosexual love is a sin is a subjective opinion and not an objective truth. Some Christians agree, myself included, believe through scholarship that the Bible does not, in fact, obligate Christians to believe that being gay is a sin or any less moral than being straight is. Therefore the present use of the Bible as justification to condemn and legally restrict LGBT members of society and their families is a misuse of it, just like the Bible was once used by some Christians to justify slavery and to imply that women were second-class citizens to weak and simple-minded to be given the right to vote. To claim the Bible is justification is again a subjective opinion and a choice. A choice that us deserving of criticism, in my opinion. And condemnation of LGBT people is a choice, an ignorant choice, and is also deserving of criticism, in my opinion.

Again, I'm sorry for stepping into your conversation with Fortunate. And, I'm sorry if I have misrepresented either your or Fortunate's views. I shall quietly step out.

Good luck on your dialogue.

Kind regards.
Posted by kim in portland on May 3, 2012 at 8:25 AM · Report this
I do understand what you are saying - but I simply disagree. You just blew off my comment about my children but this is very relevant to what you are claiming. Are you telling me you have no one close to you that you love, who does things that you hate? If you make that claim then you are not really close to someone.

The same way I can hate something one of my kids does without hating them, I can also hate the actions of others without hating them. If you think that being gay is the only thing that defines you, then I think you are selling yourself short and ignoring a lot of yourself. We are all complicated beings and although I take pride in being a father, I am also a lot more than that. I do realize that we decide how we "want" to be define, but we are still much more than that.

And it's not semantics when you say e word "Christians" and attack the whole group of Christians. I've never even posted what I actually think of gays, but I am a Christian and when you insult all Christians, you insult me.

I do think you could say you hated the actions of Christians but don't hate the people, but that has not actually been stated that way here. Instead it is Chriistians this and Christians that. You don't even bother to say "some Christians". I have known several gays that were criminals. If I simply said that gays were criminals, are you telling me I wouldn't catch a bunch of crap?

You want all the benefit of the doubt while you give none. And if you simp,y address the first point I said about my children then you will have your answer about me. Instead you bailed with a lame comment that you have " no idea of what I think of my kids." You want an honest discussion of do you want to play games?
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 2, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this
Fortunate 173
@Frankzzz: "Yes people can love the sinner and hate the sin. Do you honestly believe I hate my children if I hate something they do?"

I have no idea what you think of your kids.

But tell me, how can someone say they hate homosexuality, but don't hate someone for whom homosexuality is an inherent part of their makeup? It's like saying someone doesn't hate black people, they just hate people being black.

I'm gay. Being gay is one of the fundamental aspects of who I am. You can't say that being who I am is a sin, and that you hate this fundamental aspect of who I am, and expect me to not see this as hatred against me personally.

And if you are claiming you can, then why can't we say we hate Christianity without you all taking it personally? You act like we shouldn't get upset just because many Christians think it is a sin and disapprove, even though that means that you think we are fundamentally sinful, and that our very relationships are rooted in evil. Yet when we say we don't like Christianity we get jumped on for bashing Christians.

If criticizing Christianity and expressing disdain for it is bashing Christians, then calling homosexuality a sin and expressing negative attitudes towards homosexuality is equally gay bashing.

And yes, when I refer to Christians I am referring to a group. Unless I say "some Christians" in which case I am talking about a sub group. But I don't get what point you were trying to make with the lesson on semantics.

But don't try to keep me from being able to be married, keep me from being free from discrimination, keep me from having protections against being bullied, keep me from having full equality, and then tell me that you (the generalized, plural 'you') don't hate me. It's like the parent who beats his or her child black and blue while telling them that it hurts them more than the child. They are meaningless and empty denials.

If someone says that homosexuality is wrong and rooted in evil and a sin they are saying that my relationship with my spouse is wrong, and rooted in evil, and a sin. And as with most people who are in long term relationships my relationships are a major part of my life and even my identity. You can't attack homosexuality without attacking my relationship. And you can't attack my relationship without attacking me. And if you attack me you are inviting retaliatory, self-defensive counter strikes.

So don't try to tell me you hate my most important relationship, my fundamental sexual nature, and say it is sinful, and then claim to love me. Doing that is... what was that word again?... Oh yea, Bullshit!!!!!
Posted by Fortunate on May 2, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
I did not say that Old Testament laws do not count anymore. I said that Christians were not under the law. The law was intended to show us what sin is and to show us we can't save ourselves, so I think that the the Law and the Old Testament certainly have a place in Christianity. This is not an easy concept to understand and that is why many Christians think they can work their way to heaven and why they try to use the Old Testament as a weapon - and also use the New Testament as a weapon. The only time Jesus used the Law as a weapon was against the hypocrite Pharasees when they were ignoring God's intentions. When Christians use the Law to bash gays or anyone else, and when they don't understand that all have sinned, then they are placing themselves under the law and according to the New Testament they will be judged by the law. That's not good for them.

I did not argue that OT laws about homosexuality remain "magically valid" because I don't think that those laws remain magically valid. Like I said, we're not under the law. And I don't think that using the Old Testament to bully anyone is okay. I don't think that the OT is off limits when looking at hypocrites, because they sort of asked for it. But I don't accept the opinion that ALL Christians are hypocrites - at least not in the way that this discussion has implied. In reality we are all hypocrites because it is much easier to see fault in others than in ourselves. However, if we think it is okay to bash hypocrites with the Bible then we are still doing the same thing they are.

I'm not. saying that homosexuality is okay - and you may notice that I actually said nothing about my opinion of homosexuality. What I believe about homosexuality is not what I'm discussing here. Am I whimping out? Yes Definitely - because I don't have an unlimited amount of time to discuss things right now. I have to grade about 50 assignments and figure out if 3 computer science students get to graduate on Saturday. And Bonefish, I still don't think you pointed out inconsistencies in my argument, but you mentioned things I didn't address. I'm sure there are lots of things I didn't address. This isn't a simple topic and using catch phrases or simple explainations do not do the topic justice.
Gotta go. Peace!
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 2, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
You did not read my entire post because it was totally wrong? How do you know it was totally wrong if you didn't read it? You didn't approach it with preconceived notions at all.

I never said the OT was obsolete. You still seem to be blaming all Christians for the attitudes and actions of some. BTW: I have spoken on many occasions against gay bashing and against cherry picking sins in my church and at work. I can't stop Christians behaving badly no more than I can stop non-Christians from behaving badly.

You're totally wrong about the persecution thing. Just because you haven't witnessed something doesn't meaan it doesn't exist. I have seen it from professors on a regular basis when they harass students in class for believing in God. I also know of other professors insulting gay students, but they all get away with it because they have tenure.

Yes people can love the sinner and hate the sin. Do you honestly believe I hate my children if I hate something they do? Duh? However, your own comments repeatedly say "Christians". Unless we are using a language other than English, when you use a term that refers to a group, you are actually referring to that group. But you are right - Christians shouldn't use the Bible to bash anyone. I have never defended that.

Thanks for your words and yes I shouldn't use profanity but I tend to get excited and some words sound pretty good when used for emphasis. Sorry!
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 2, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
I appreciate the support of liberal Christians, I really do. But my god, at what point do you say "I cannot identify with these people any more?"

Maybe it's living in the American south, maybe it's having grown up Catholic but I am so sick of having to deal with other people's religions. Just leave my family alone. Leave my kid alone. He's not hurting anyone but the line of people that want to hurt him is a mile long and while not all religious people are hurtful, everyone in that line is holding a holy book of some kind to justify their desired actions.

Posted by Sailoreic on May 2, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
CasingdatheChristian HAHAHA! your funny I did not respond to what you said because you are insane. You say "I do not disapprove of your life, but of your behavior" Well Dan IS gay and he lives his life as a gay man in a gay relationship. I would say that being gay is a part of his life so if you disapprove of his "behavior" then you disapprove of his life. Also being gay is not a "behavior" its not something that you can just stop doing.
Also if you are so highly educated you would know that their are gay animals and its natural. If you were so smart and educated you would know that the earth is billions of years old not only a couple thousand, you would know that there is a thing called evolution and dinosaurs. You cannot believe in evolution, dinosaurs and the earth is billions of years old and believe the bible. I am pretty sure god DID NOT say you can pick and choose what to believe in.

I think that was Dan's point the bible is bullshit and you cant pick and choose what you believe in.
BTW thanks for giving the push I needed to go from lutheran to atheist.
Posted by mykoolaid58 on May 2, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Lissa 167
Quoted for truth:

But answer me this. If you think you can love the sinner even if you hate the sin then why is it impossible for you to accept that others can hate Christianity and the Bible but not hate Christians? If you can't see a criticism of your religion without feeling personally attacked then perhaps you should rethink the notion that you can hate the fundamental nature of a person, and their most important relationships in life, but they shouldn't take that personally and see it as hate against them.

Thank you Fortunate. That is beautifully put,
Posted by Lissa on May 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this

First, the OT is not addressed to Christians because there were no fucking Christians yet.

Also, If the OT is all obsolete and shit, then why do people keep on with the gay bashing? If none of this applies to anyone but Jews, shouldn't Jews be the only rampant homophobes claiming scripture as their authority? Your argument has a few holes.
Posted by chicago girl on May 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
"I think the thing that makes my heart hurt the most is that too many proclaimed Christians that have commented over the last few days cannot or will not acknowledge that some of their co-religionist use the Bible to justify murder, beatings, send hateful e-mails, deny civil equality, et cetera."

And claiming that the abuse is not happening (or is no worse than the abuse that they are suffering from Dan's mean words) is also a form of bullying.

"No, no, they tell actual victims of abuse that they can't criticize those who abuse them."

It's the victimization play.
Sure some gays may have been beaten.
But you cannot "bash" Christian dogma because that is insensitive and mean.
And people who are insensitive and mean and "bash" others are ... bullies.

"I know a brick wall when I see one here."

It isn't that they do not understand.
It is that they have a personal vested interest in being the victims in this discussion.
Because once they lose that victim status they have to acknowledge that their theology really is the basis for the abuse.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on May 2, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Dan's arguments are brilliant, and should have closed the book on the whole issue. The bottom line is that Christianity bullies gays, sometimes to death. No Christian, in the western world in the last several hundred years anyway, has killed themselves or been murdered because they were bullied for their beliefs. The opposite is true of homosexuals. That there are Christians on this board boo-hooing over Dan calling their religion bullshit, is pathetic. Grow a pair.
Posted by mitten on May 2, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
kim in portland 163
I think the thing that makes my heart hurt the most is that too many proclaimed Christians that have commented over the last few days cannot or will not acknowledge that some of their co-religionist use the Bible to justify murder, beatings, send hateful e-mails, deny civil equality, et cetera. No, no, they tell actual victims of abuse that they can't criticize those who abuse them. And all criticism is abusing Christians. No, Dan and Terry and others who have been physically abused are the actual bullies. And groups and individuals call themselves Christians like Westboro Baptist, pastor Jeff Owens from Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church who promoted physically hurting gays in a sermon and pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church (Fayettesville, NC )with his YouTube videos advocating beating little boys for acting effeminate. Harris actually said "Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch." And, those students from St Charles North High School in the Chicago area walking around with "If a man lay with a male as those who lay with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and shall surely be put to DEATH," are true victims? They don't deserve criticism for saying they are Christians and advocating violence and death? Their example of Christ-likeness shouldn't be criticized or called hypocritical? Their use of scripture to justify their actions cannot be examined? No. Apparently Dan and all the other victims are supposed to remember that "God is love" and that Christ died for them so his self-proclaimed followers could serve Him by calling for their death, calling for children to be beaten, to comment on a blog defending themselves as victims because criticizing the use of the Bible to justify abuse is truly abuse.

Would it have really hurt all you distressed Christians on these threads to acknowledge that you have co-religionists who misuse the Bible? You obviously don't think they misuse it or you would say something, right? You would calling them out, right? Would it really have hurt you to apologize for the abusive actions of your fellow Christians? Apparently so. Sadly the majority of you created a registered commenter account to complain about your own perceived mistreatment and to proclaim yourselves as the true victims.

Now I'm sufficiently depressed. And am going to use my breath to cool my tea. I know a brick wall when I see one here. I'm not going to stop criticizing those who turn a blind eye to the sufferings of their fellow humans or refuse to criticize those Christians who use scripture as justification for abuse and bigotry. I'm going to attempt to eliminate injustice and show compassion with my time.

Take care.
Posted by kim in portland on May 2, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Ophian 162
Fortunate @159: yup, that's about the size of it.

And for all of you very polite christians who have joined us here to moralize, condescend, and let us know how much you hope we see the light before it is too late: FUCK OFF.

[I say that with deepest love and hope that you will fuck off.]
Posted by Ophian on May 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Bonefish 161
144: You're like the 50th person to argue that (in a nutshell) the Old Testament laws do not count anymore because Jesus amended Biblical law.

You're also the 50th person who has failed to argue why Old Testament laws on homosexuality, specifically, remain magically valid, and it's all those OTHER laws (the ones that would affect you, conveniently) that were made obsolete.

You're the 50th person who has failed to answer why the OT is fair game when digging for justification to bully gay children, but suddenly off limits and irrelevant when looking at hypocrisies in Christian interpretations of the Bible.

Care to answer these points, or will you be the 50th person to conveniently ignore everyone who points out this inconsistency in your argument?

I'm more than happy to ignore the Old Testament. The trouble is, Christians (not gays) keep bringing it up. Maybe you should yell at THEM.
Posted by Bonefish on May 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
@3 There's a belief in certain Christian sects that during the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, sinners who believed in Christ, but sinned anyway, will have their sins purged in hell. After the 1000 years, they will be able to join Christ in the celestial city. Meanwhile, Satan and "the unrighteous dead" (Dan and the atheist, unrepentant gay hordes) will wage war on Christ's city, but ultimately be defeated.
Posted by idfriendly on May 2, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Fortunate 159
Here is my problem with the Christian mindset. I hear it all the time and I see it here in these comments.

Christians mistake not yelling for not hating. They mistake judging themselves negatively for not judging others. They mistakenly think that in all cases you can separate the "sin" from the sinner.

Many Christian think it makes them humble if, after judging others, they add in that although homosexuals are sinners if they act on their natures, we are all sinners equally. They think that this makes them non-judgmental. But they are wrong.

If you want to judge yourselves and call yourselves sinners that is your business. But just because you call yourself sinners doesn't make it alright to call others sinners. To do so IS to judge others. When you direct that way of thinking at yourself that is your business. When you direct it at others you should expect people to become upset and angry with you.

But even worse is that underneath that is a lie. The lie is that if you say "we are all sinners, so I don't think I am better than you" that this makes that true. It doesn't. I can't speak for all Christians, but most Christians I have known I have no doubt they do, indeed, think they are better. Because even if they really believe that we are all sinners equally, they believe that they have found the answer to that, and so that makes them better than us. If you want to know if a Christian really feels superior to someone who is not a Christian all you need to do is look and see if they try or agree with imposing their beliefs on others through pressure or laws.

A Christian who doesn't think they are better than others does not try to force others to their way of being. To do that is a sure sign that the person thinks they are better than others.

And the "hate the sin, not the sinner" nonsense makes it all even worse. You can claim to hate the sin of homosexuality but not homosexuals all you want, but there is no way to act against homosexuality without acting against homosexual people. You can't work against equality for gay people, protection from discrimination for gay people, and the safety of gay people and claim that you don't hate gay people.

A tree is know by its fruits. The act of working against the well being of people is the fruit of the tree of hatred. It makes no difference if you do it with a smile on your face, or if you offer the people you are hurting a glass of lemonade and a cookie while you do it. You don't have to foam at the mouth and scream at the top of your lungs at people to act in a hateful way towards them.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it's a duck. If it feels like hate it is hate.

If Christians don't want non-Christians to attack the Bible then they need to stop using the Bible as a weapon. When you attack others your weapons become fair targets for retaliation. In war we bomb the enemy's weapons manufacturing and weapons depot facilities. In the culture war we attack the cultural weapons used against us.

The Bible is a target only because Christians turn it into a target by using it as a weapon against others.

As for the idea that fighting back is bashing Christians, again, most of us wouldn't give a damn what Christians did or thought if they weren't using Christianity as an excuse to harm us. The only way that gay people can avoid the charge of Christian bashing is to let the Christians bash us without fighting back. And that would be crazy.

But answer me this. If you think you can love the sinner even if you hate the sin then why is it impossible for you to accept that others can hate Christianity and the Bible but not hate Christians? If you can't see a criticism of your religion without feeling personally attacked then perhaps you should rethink the notion that you can hate the fundamental nature of a person, and their most important relationships in life, but they shouldn't take that personally and see it as hate against them.
Posted by Fortunate on May 2, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Rather than saying the Bible justifies slavery, I would say that the Bible regards slavery as a given and then attempts to some extent to inject some humanity into the system (e.g. in the Old Testament an owner has certain obligations towards his female sex slaves, or Paul's insistence that there are no slaves in God's eyes and exhortations to masters to treat slaves as brothers in the Lord).

And yeah, slavery in the ancient world varied from patronistic to brutal, mostly brutal. Since it wasn't race-based, there was more opportunity for educated slaves to be manumitted and/or reach positions of high responsibility. But most slaves lived short brutal lives in the mines or fields. Some even got the privilege of battling each other to the death as live-show entertainment. Yes, things were so much better in the good old days.
Posted by GrammarQueen on May 2, 2012 at 7:47 AM · Report this
I'm always weirded out by any conservative Christian who defends New Testament support for the Roman form of slavery by claiming it was supposedly less evil than the more modern version, given the contradiction between conservative Christian attitudes about homosexuality and what Seneca the Elder had to say about impudicitia (the willingness to be penetrated by another male, among other sexual characteristics).

In Rome, Seneca noted impudicitia was "...a crime for the freeborn, a necessity in a slave, a duty for the freedman." This "less evil" form of slavery included legally sanctioned homosexual availability among its duties even after the male slave involved was freed, which you'd think would be something of a stumbling block for its would-be conservative apologists. And I don't think I have to highlight for non-conservatives the coexisting, and genuinely morally vile, "who cares about your sexual preferences if I outrank you" attitude built into this "less evil" slavery.

The more these purists try to make a case for a modern morality based only on unedited Biblical sources, the more ignorant and/or awful they sound. I really am forced to agree "bullshit" is the proper term to use here.
Posted by Parhelion on May 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM · Report this
OK, so the Ten Commandments were all Old Testament, right? That must mean that it is OK to:
Have another God before Him
Covet thy neighbor's wife
Covet thy neighbor's ass
Cover thy neighbor's wife's ass
Commit adultry
Disobey and dishonor thine parents
Worship idols
Posted by LML on May 2, 2012 at 7:02 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 154
Tim1584, Seattlefaith and the other Christians that write in here, I have a question for you. Do you vote for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage? Or do you support the rights of GLBT people?

If you support full equality for gays and lesbians despite the "sin" of homosexuality, then the hypocrisy argument is not directed at you. If, on the other hand, you vote to deny extending the marriage benefits to gays and lesbians, on what basis to you vote that way? Because it is a sin? And if that is true, would you also support a state and federal ban on divorced people re-marrying due to that being a clear sin in the eyes of Jesus? If you support legal sanction against gays, but not divorced people, then you are a hypocrite.

The truth is, Gays and Lesbians don't need your blessing. They need you to stop passing laws, based on the bible, discriminating against them. While it would sure be nice for you to stop passing judgment on whom they choose to love, the real battle is for you to stop passing laws that interfere with their health and safety. If you are the types of Christians who support full equal rights, this isn’t directed at you. If you support constitutional bans on gay marriage, I would love to hear your justification in doing so.
Posted by Tim Horton on May 2, 2012 at 6:40 AM · Report this
143. An ad hominem attack would mean that I thought that Paul's argument was invalidated exclusively by what I said about him. I don't. The possibility that Paul may have been acting in self-hatred does not change that he felt homosexuality was something to be deeply ashamed of.

Posted by EclecticEel on May 2, 2012 at 5:49 AM · Report this
Eclecticeel, Calling Paul a homosexual? Really? Upon what do you base your evidence? There is nothing he writes, or does with his life, that would suggest this was true. He was a person who went around persecuting Christians until he had an encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, at which point he went on to become one of the most ardent supporters of Christians and Christianity that has ever lived, so much so that a large portion of the New Testament consists of letters he wrote to different churches in different cities that were getting established in that part of the world. That is the Paul of the New Testament. He also did some extensive traveling, once again in service to the Lord, visiting areas and sharing the good news (gospel). He served the Lord for the rest of His life, and, in fact, died a martyr. If he were a homosexual, why would he have so ardently served the Lord? Why did he not rebel and decide to do what he wished? He was never forced into his life of service; he chose it. So I do not think you are basing what you have said about him on very sound judgment, neither do I think you have thought through all of the implications such a statement would have for the life of service he chose, as well as for his very public, and, once again, chosen ministry. Paul was a servant of the Lord who sought to spread the Word and to encourage the newly established churches,as well as those he sent out into the mission field, as it would be called today. It might behoove you to learn more about him before you make such statements about him.
Posted by CasingdatheChristian on May 2, 2012 at 5:40 AM · Report this
Frankzzzz, although I'm not sure that the use of profanity was a necessity in getting your point across, you do, in fact, make very many excellent points. I am taking a philosophy course in college right now, and much of what you say is exactly what I have been thinking, and for the same reasons. That is why, in all of my posts, I have avoided the exact thing that you point out is appearing so much in these posts--the hate and the bigotry and the attitude of superiority. There seems to be a general overall attitude that Christians are all to be lumped into one group of haters and nut-cases. I really appreciate the content of your post. It is unfortunate that dialogue such as you speak of is difficult to attain, let alone maintain, but,as you point out, there is much attacking that goes on without too much truly thoughtful debate. I have read the New Testament several times, and just recently completed a study of the entire Bible. I know well the character of Jesus, as illustrated in the Word, and so when attacks are made against Him, or God, or the Word, I can definitely see that the attackers really are attacking out of ignorance and are making assumptions, and, as you said, they are parsing out verses of the Bible to suit their points of view/purposes. And your explanation of why Christians are no under Old Testament law, as well as why the law was written in the first place, as well as the fact that there are things in the Bible that were written specifically for the Nation of Israel, are excellent and make quite clear why the problem with using OT law to attack NT Christians is problematic. And the point you bring up about legalism, and the fact that that is the wrong way to approach this topic, is an excellent one, too. I may not entirely agree with every single thing you've said, but, overall, you've done an excellent job of fairly presenting the Christian, Biblical, perspective, as well as fairly dealing with the hypocrisy of many of the posters. Thank you!
Posted by CasingdatheChristian on May 2, 2012 at 5:22 AM · Report this

I'm not going to read your whole screed because it's incredibly wrong, but please stop with the whole "LGBT people bash Christians way more than Christians bash LGBT people" nonsense. The only reason we LGBT folks have much at all to say about Christianity is because of hypocritical Christians who are using their personal beliefs to deny us equal rights, and doing it under the guise of being morally superior to us. We just want the same rights and protections as everyone else. We are not trying to persecute Christians or to codify discrimination against them into law.
Posted by mshawn on May 2, 2012 at 5:12 AM · Report this
I think Dan can really mitigate the damage from this whole incident if he does more to get his apology for “pansy-assed” and less-regrettably-phrased defense of “bullshit” out there. I think he should put it in a video. Yeah, he apologized and clarified on the blog, but how many people are going to read that while the anti-gays completely ignore it and keep running with this story? They LOVE being able to say “look everyone, the ‘anti-bullying’ guy is a bully!" So show them what anti-bullying advocates do when they make a mistake (even if it would probably be an overstatement to call that mistake "bullying"). Make it a teachable moment. The It Gets Better Project started with a video and continued with videos, and the conference clip is on video, too. Dan should make a video explaining that the world isn’t divided into the bullies and the bullied, and sometimes well-meaning people mess up and say things that are unkind, and the right thing to do in that situation is to take responsibility and apologize. Then say what he said on the blog: calling the walkout pansy-assed was wrong, but attacking hypocrisy isn’t the same as attacking Christianity, etc. I think a video, particularly if approached from his role as an anti-bullying advocate, would probably be a more effective way to remedy this than the blog.
Posted by tsapience on May 2, 2012 at 4:49 AM · Report this
"The people who use the Bible to justify the oppression of LGBT people today are just as wrong as the people who used the Bible to justify the institution of slavery then."

That's all you had to write, Dan.

Posted by Patricia Kayden on May 2, 2012 at 4:37 AM · Report this
@ 100: "In the bible people did own slaves They could have been captives from a battle. Here we have a people who would have been killed put in servitude. Was that wrong? They were fed, even protected. In many cases they became members of one's household. It is not slavery that is wrong but how they could have been treated."

Was that WRONG? You say this like there were only two choices on the menu: 1) Kill 'em. 2) Enslave 'em.

Seriously, dude, you've become morally degraded to the point where you're parsing which kinds of slavery you feel are more defensible than others.

If I were going to start running around endlessly preaching to people about things that-- if there is a truly righteous God-- should make them forever fear for the rest of their lives about their immortal soul being cast into the worst, lowest, flaming pits of Hell, the behavior of rationalizing practices of human slavery would probably be a really good place to start.

Posted by bobbyjoe on May 2, 2012 at 3:31 AM · Report this
I think that… that post might answer some of your questions regarding interpretation: there is no right one, but many of those out there support virulent homophobia. considering the sheer amount of prejudice and bigotry enshrined in the law and societal action against gays, defended by reference to christian dogma, then surely you understand the pushback? gays constantly hear from christians how they are abominations who don't deserve civil rights. so when they say that christians are being assholes to them, that's true--and if you wish to make much of the distinction between 'asshole christians' and some other kind, then the proper place to do so is in the faces of the assholes, and not dan savage's blog.
Posted by decrystallized on May 2, 2012 at 3:21 AM · Report this
You guys are something else. Arrogant, demeaning, intolerant, just to mention a few of the common attitudes posted here by the locals. I would like to ask a few questions, but I doubt I will get anything back except for bullshit answers, but I'll try anyway.

1). How can you be so arrogant to think that you have found the true meaning of all of the Bible when you approach it with a bias and with such an axe to grind? After all the insults and derogatory remarks you have made about the Bible, you have already demonstrated your prejudice. You know as well as I do that with the bias and hate you have for the Bible and for Christians, you cannot and do not approach the scriptures with an open mind. Can a preacher who says "God hates Fags" be open minded? Of course not.

That doesn't mean that no one can disagree with the Bible, but if you want to find the truth, you have to actually be looking. If you have already found the truth (or think you did) then you can't honestly be looking for it. You want others to be open minded about your lifestyle choices, but you attack determine to prove what you already believe, not trying to find new truths. You can't pour knowledge into a glass that's already full. Have any of you ever heard of the uncarved block in Taoism? The uncarved block can be anything but once you define it, it has lost it's ability to change. That is what our minds are like.

2) you also have a lot at stake since most of you are admitted gays and recognize that several parts of the Bible does not speak favorably of gays. Considering what is at risk for your choice of lifestyle (I realize that some of you believe it is not a choice) can you honestly claim you approach the Bible and Christian beliefs with an open mind? Is there any evidence or any situation where you would accept that said you were doing something wrong?

3) How can you possibly be posting all of the insults you post and generalizing about ALL Christians without being guilty of the same claim you make agaist them? You call Christians hypocrites and only rarely include that it is only "some" Christians. Yes we can all see that you guys aren't hypocrites. You tell the Christians to love others in such a loving way. There's definitely no hate here and Dan was so tolerant of others in his rant against what he sees as intolerance. Did every Christian in the world offend you guys just by claiming Christ as their savior.? Yet, poster after poster continue to pretend that they are so superior, while at the same time insulting all republicans, all conservatives and all Christians. I don't hear any of you showing outrage when the liberal posters here attack others who believe different. Why aren't you fighting against intolerance?

4) more on the issue of intolerance: why is it that I can go to any blog online and the Christian bashing comments far outnumber the LGBT bashing comments - even on That is very odd considering the percentage of Christians in the US is quite higher than the percentage of LGBT people. So (this is not a scientific study but only my observations) when you look at percentages of bashers, there is an exceedingly higher percentage of LGBT bashing Christians than there are of Christians bashing LGBT. Aren't you really being unfair to attack all Bible believing Christians, when your group bashes at such a higher percentage. BTW, those pansy ass kids probably never bashed anyone. Your claims and/or implications that all Christians are biggots is simply false.

5) Finally - I realize that the posters here consider themselves to be Biblical Scholars and make claims to know the Bible, but you are making a lot of assumptions and missing a lot. This is probably because of the bias you have. When you bring up Leviticus and start talking about the comments of Jesus regarding the Law, you ignore several important points. While you can claim that Jesus words did hold importance for Gentiles, the old testament law was written to the Jews just as circumcision was for the Jews - NOT for Gentiles who became Christians. Paul made that clear in his writings regarding circumcision and went even tpfurther when he told Jewish Christians they were no longer under the law. (Acts 13:39, Gal 5:18, Rom 6:14-15, I Cor 9:20-21, and others). As far as Jesus goes, Him being here to fulfill the law and the prophets does not mean he was here to enforce the law, but to fulfill the Old Covenant as in the prophesies from the Old covenant - prophecies about himself.

If his words concerning the law were as many of you state here, then why didn't he stone the adulterer? Why did he hang out with sinners? Why did he say you could pull your donkey out of a ditch on the sabath? The law of the old testament was written for the Jews. Jesus as a Jew respected those laws but recognized that it was the intent behind the laws that mattered. That's why he said man was not made for the sabbath but the sabbath for man. (Mark 2:27)

You guys here being so legalistic about the law in the old testament is exactly what the Pharisees did. What is in the heart was always more important to God than the legalisms. That's why in Mat 5 Jesus would present a "you have heard" scenario from the old testament and then follow it up with a "but I say" statement, which would show the intent behind the actions that were condemned in the law. You have heard don't murder, but I say don't even hate. Also, much of what you are complaining about from the old testament was simply not directed at Christians. Show me where Christians are instructed to take all yeast products and bread out of their homes for the Passover. There actually are large portions of the old testament that were laws specifically for the Country of Israel at the time of Mosses and after. Specific commands to not take wives from a certain country or to take a certain city captive, were nation building policies and were used to create the country for the Children of Israel. That's why the Israelites didn't continue to wage war and attempt to take over the world. So if someone claims that Christians are supposed to attack pegan nations then I call BULLSHIT.

The old covenant or the Law, which is not the same as the Old Testament, was to show us what sin was and to demonstrate that we can not be saved under the law, only condemned. That's because the old covenant show that no one could be perfect and righteous. All have all are condemned under the Law.

While we certainly need to recognize many of the principles in the old testament, we are not under the old covenant but under the new convenant of grace and we don't have to stone people based on the laws for the country of Israel.

If you actually want to have an honest discussion about the Bible, I'm all for it. But when you start out closed minded with a bug up your butt and an attitude that all Christians are hypocrites and that all Christians don't understand the Bible, and that you know all there is to know about the Bible, then we are all wasting our time. In that case your not looking for honest dialog, but for people to just agree with you.
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 2, 2012 at 2:24 AM · Report this

That's an interesting thought. I guess then that since most posters here are raging Biblephobes, then you must all be closet Christians.

You comment about Paul really is total FAIL on so many levels. It is a logical fallacy of attacking the person or ad hominem. You don't like what someone has to say so you insult instead of addressing the issue.

Also, if it were true then your claim is that homosexuals are the ones insulting and attacking homosexuals. If that's the case, why are you ragging on straight Christians?
Posted by Frankzzzz on May 2, 2012 at 2:00 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn, I am not, first of all, a man. And the fact that you tell me I am not the loving person I think I am amazes me, because you do not know me and you know nothing about me. I would not judge the level of your ability to love based on your post, as I do not know you, or anything about you. The Lord wants us to love others for Him, with His love. That is what I desire to do. It is the best love there is. It is called agape love. So when you say we are under God's love, and that men show no such love, I am wondering how you can possibly know that that is true of every person. I am person who is considered to be very loving, caring, compassionate and empathetic. I go out of my way to help others, to show concern for their physical and emotional welfare, and I give of myself to them to bless them and to glorify God. Now, if you have an argument with that, then I say, once again, that since you do not know me, or anything about me, it would be very difficult for you to dispute what I am saying. But, most of all, being a Christian is not a religion, it is about a relationship, about having a relationship with God and His Son. That relationship is the most important one in my life, now and always.
Posted by CasingdatheChristian on May 2, 2012 at 1:03 AM · Report this
mykoolaid58, I'm not sure what you mean by "strange voice". However, what strikes me is the fact that you choose to mock the tone of what I have written, rather than to deal with the content. Since I am not attacking anyone, or mocking anyone, or calling anyone names, but, instead, just carrying on a reasoned discussion, it seems as though you are resorting to this mockery because you really cannot respond in any other manner that would have any impact on the substance of what I said. I have been a Christian, saved by the grace of God, for over 42 years. In that time, I have done a lot of things that were wrong, as in I've sinned against God plenty of times. The only difference is that the shed blood of Jesus, and my willingness to ask God to forgive me, and my willingness and desire to mean what I've said, and my willingness to stop repeating the same sin over and over, are what make God's forgiveness a reality to and for me. As I said, I am no better or worse than anyone else, and sin is sin. So mocking me does not change these facts; neither does it change my security in who I am and in my relationship with the Lord. You may mock me all you wish; I know what I have with Him and who I am, and who I am in Him. And BTW, you have no idea who I am. Have you not considered the fact that you may be attacking someone who is a highly regarded professional, and highly educated? It is unwise to be mocking that which you apparently do not understand, either. Now, regarding Tim1584's most recent post, thank you, Tim, for a very reasoned and sound posting that answers an attack on Jesus with the truth, letting the words of Jesus speak for themselves. Seattlefaith, I encourage you to persevere, and to know that God is with you, and as long as you are doing as He would have you to do, that He will bless all that you do. Kiminportland, you are misreading what Seattlefaith is saying. He is not complaining about the persecution; he is acknowledging it as being part and parcel of what happens to one who truly chooses to serve the Lord. And his comments are made out of love. My thinking is that you are choosing to overlook the fact that when he writes of the truth, he means that Jesus died for our sins, if we do not accept the free gift of salvation and repent of our living in a consciously sinful manner that is in open defiance to God and His love for us and His word, then those of us who CHOOSE not to accept the gift of Christ's dying for our sins on the cross will go to hades, hell, be cast into the lake of fire, take your pick, they all mean the same thing, and all mean eternal separation from God. And it is we, because God has given us all free will and freedom of choice, that make the choice as to whether we will spend eternity with God, or spend eternity separated from Him. As I said early on in this post, I've been a Christian for many years, and have had a long time to learn what all of this means. So if you wish to call it a fairy tale or to mock me, or whatever your form of denial may take, be my guest. It changes nothing for me, at all. I am convinced of the truth of God's love for me and of Christ's death on the cross being a very real and necessary thing, as well as His resurrection. And nothing you or anyone else says about what I have said, or in judgment of what the Bible does or does not, or may or may not, say, or what you may say in judgment of Jesus, or God, will change this.
Posted by CasingdatheChristian on May 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM · Report this
myloolaid58, I'm not sure what you mean by "strange voice". However, what strikes me is the fact that you choose to mock the tone of what I have written, rather than to deal with the content. Since I am not attacking anyone, or mocking anyone, or calling anyone names, but, instead, just carrying on a reasoned discussion, it seems as though you are resorting to this mockery because you really cannot respond in any other manner that would have any impact on the substance of what I said. I have been a Christian, saved by the grace of God, for over 42 years. In that time, I have done a lot of things that were wrong, as in I've sinned against God plenty of times. The only difference is that the shed blood of Jesus, and my willingness to ask God to forgive me, and my willingness and desire to mean what I've said, and my willingness to stop repeating the same sin over and over, are what make God's forgiveness a reality to and for me. As I said, I am no better or worse than anyone else, and sin is sin. So mocking me does not change these facts; neither does it change my security in who I am and in my relationship with the Lord. You may mock me all you wish; I know what I have with Him and who I am, and who I am in Him. And BTW, you have no idea who I am. Have you not considered the fact that you may be attacking someone who is a highly regarded professional, and highly educated? It is unwise to be mocking that which you apparently do not understand, either. Now, regarding Tim1584's most recent post, thank you, Tim, for a very reasoned and sound posting that answers an attack on Jesus with the truth, letting the words of Jesus speak for themselves. Seattlefaith, I encourage you to persevere, and to know that God is with you, and as long as you are doing as He would have you to do, that He will bless all that you do. Kiminportland, you are misreading what Seattlefaith is saying. He is not complaining about the persecution; he is acknowledging it as being part and parcel of what happens to one who truly chooses to serve the Lord. And his comments are made out of love. My thinking is that you are choosing to overlook the fact that when he writes of the truth, he means that Jesus died for our sins, if we do not accept the free gift of salvation and repent of our living in a consciously sinful manner that is in open defiance to God and His love for us and His word, then those of us who CHOOSE not to accept the gift of Christ's dying for our sins on the cross will go to hades, hell, be cast into the lake of fire, take your pick, they all mean the same thing, and all mean eternal separation from God. And it is we, because God has given us all free will and freedom of choice, that make the choice as to whether we will spend eternity with God, or spend eternity separated from Him. As I said early on in this post, I've been a Christian for many years, and have had a long time to learn what all of this means. So if you wish to call it a fairy tale or to mock me, or whatever your form of denial may take, be my guest. It changes nothing for me, at all. I am convinced of the truth of God's love for me and of Christ's death on the cross being a very real and necessary thing, as well as His resurrection. And nothing you or anyone else says about what I have said, or in judgment of what the Bible does or does not, or may or may not, say, or what you may say in judgment of Jesus, or God, will change this.
Posted by CasingdatheChristian on May 2, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
venomlash 138
@100: Were those slaves in the American South given the option to go free after seven years of servitude? Were they granted the Sabbath rest? Were they avenged by the law if struck down in the field?
What an ignorant Christian you are.
Posted by venomlash on May 2, 2012 at 12:04 AM · Report this
Given the recent study that found a direct correspondence between homophobia and being homosexual, what the anti-homosexual teachings in the bible teach us is that Paul was a raging closet case who preached abstinence because thinking about women left him limp.

If there are a lot of passages against homosexuality in the new testament it's cause he was hoping that saying it's wrong often enough would make him stop wanting to fuck his male slaves. (Note: I'm am *not* accusing Paul of having ever actually done so.)
Posted by EclecticEel on May 1, 2012 at 11:47 PM · Report this
I think that in the future, Dan, you shouldn't open your speeches at Christian colleges with "the bible has a lot of bullshit in it" but your other line about "when I was a teenager, I went to seminary school to become a Catholic priest". This is a warning, that if anyone wants to argue the bible with you, you will curbstomp them with their own book unless they are good and proper experts. And even then, you will likely still curbstomp them, because there's a whole shipload of things in it they are obviously and purposely ignoring (as you had rightly gone on to point out in your recent speech).

Although I'd have to admit, there's not likely to be a lot of invites forthcoming anytime soon. :)
Posted by gromm on May 1, 2012 at 10:42 PM · Report this
Of course the Bible was puposely written to be open to personal interpretation. Fables were never meant to be literal truths, and some of the historical events are altered to favor the victors and maintain control over the population.

Ask Charlie Manson.

Better yet, find out why the Gnostic bibles were suppressed....
Posted by Nemo on May 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM · Report this
I'd also point out that the story of Creation comes from the Old Testament, but that doesn't stop a bunch of Christians from claiming that evolution is false because it conflicts with the Book of Genesis.
Posted by Marooner on May 1, 2012 at 8:48 PM · Report this
@3 there sure as shit better be lakefront property. I already took out a mortgage on mine.
Posted by chicago girl on May 1, 2012 at 8:35 PM · Report this
Wow ajphoto... For a second there you had me believing that Jesus said that. I guess it was your statement "Jesus says" that threw me off. What Luke 19:27 actually is is a verse at the end of a parable, a story told to teach a lesson. In the parable a young noble man says, "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me." It was in the context of a story and was a statement made by a character in that story, a comment that would be believable coming from a king or a noble. Many kings and rulers throughout history have called for the death of their enemies. Jesus on the other hand commanded his followers in this way, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44. That actually is a quote from Jesus. What you stated is no more a quote of Jesus than claiming that William Shakespeare professed his love for a man named Romeo. It was Juliet, a character in a play who professed her love, not the person telling the story.
Posted by Tim1584 on May 1, 2012 at 8:35 PM · Report this
This is one they ignore as well when they say the New Testament and Jesus are all peace and love.
According to Luke 19:27 Jesus says: "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me."
Posted by ajphotoineugene on May 1, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this
Three things:
1. God was only kidding in the Old Testament, rather like Mitt Romney was only kidding about all the things he said in the primaries. Thus, Mitt Romney is the God Candidate.
2. Peggy makes a distinction between 'homosexuals' and 'homosapiens'? Really, Peggy?
3. I'm gonna build a summer house at the Lake of Fire, because it sounds like that place rocks.
Posted by Karina on May 1, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
kim in portland 126
@ 124,

And it is funny how people can't accept that others come to different conclusions. Even after reading the Bible, praying, and going to church. There are even entire Christian denominations who don't agree about the literalness of the Bible. Tis strange indeed.

I'd suggest you go talk to some of your co-religionists that do attack Dan Savage. You could start with "Seattleblues" who posts here. He proclaims himself a devout Christian and frequently goes on abusively worded tirades against Mr. Savage and everyone else who disagrees with him on any subject. But, that would require you to look beyond yourself and recognize the ugly truth that some who call themselves Christians are mean and cruel.

Try counting your "sufferings" as being found worthy of sharing Jesus' suffering. Maybe that will help you find joy. And you could try allowing people to see Christ-likeness in you instead of telling people that they can't see your "truth" because they come to a different conclusion. Less evangelizing and more silent serving. Just a thought.

And, sorry you feel picked upon. It sucks. I know I don't appreciate it when your co-religionists attack me either.

Take care.
Posted by kim in portland on May 1, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
kim in portland 125
@ 121,

I thought he could have worded it better and chosen less confrontational words to facilitate dialogue, Ken. His point deserves to be addressed. The topic was appropriate to conference's stated purpose of edginess and the use of social media.

I disagree with the claims that they were attacked and bullied. Individuals who are attacked and bullied are separated from their peers to be victimized. No-one separated these students from their peers. The students chose to march out, because they were intolerant of Dan bringing up the Bible. And they took offense.The first one was walking out before he even got to the word "bullshit". Which means leaves me inclined to think she either needed to use the ladies room or the fact that Dan said the word Bible was too offensive for her. Only she knows.
Posted by kim in portland on May 1, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
It's funny how people will try to find anything to belittle the bible just to keep from seeing the truth. You out there that don't want to believe the bible will eventually see the truth. Hopefully, not too late. Anything to keep from feeling trapped by faith or religion. But the truth is you are actually more free and have more joy in your life. I walk the streets of Seattle and feel sorry for all the people I see who have so much hatred in their face. You are one of those haters, Dan Savage, not the christians. I am attacked quite often for my faith. I know that I must be doing something right for people to feel the need to put me down. Stop being a hypocrite and stop treating Christians the way you don't want to be treated. I have not been attacking others and neither have my friends. I am the one being attacked.
Posted by Seattlefaith on May 1, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Dan, you are absolutely correct about the bible and xtian hypocrisy. The bible is bullshit -- and so are the koran, rig vedas, and all religions. Don't ever apologize for being correct. Calling out the hypocrites shames them, and no one deserves it more.
Posted by ginger k on May 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM · Report this
@Daniel_NY - I agree wholeheartedly with your comment that if we accept the Bible's condemnation of the act of homosexuality then we must also accept it's condemnation of the many sins that we have committed in our lives. Many Christians do just that. We accept that we are sinners. We acknowledge that our sin seperates us from the love of God. We also accept the path to salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that God offers. You go on to state that if we accept the Bible is the inspired word of God we are either blasphemers or lunatics. That sounds much like the accusations the Sanhedrin made against Jesus and many modern scholars have argued that Jesus' words and actions can result in only two options, either he was the Son of God or he was a lunatic. Which one do you believe is true, lunatic or God? As far as the act of blasphemy it applies to speaking sacriligously about God. Stating that God has spoken to me is not in and of itself an act of blasphemy. If I say that God spoke to me and told me that the only way to salvation is to be a good person and do good things all my life, that would be an act of blasphemy. We have all sinned but it is only through the grace and mercy of God that we can be saved. To believe that there is a living God and that he can speak to us through the written word is not an act of lunacy but rather an act of faith. Much in the same way that a handful of high school students quietly stood up and walked out in the middle of a speech that they believed to be offensive. It was faith that caused them to act against human nature and open themselves up to the derision of their fellow students and the speaker. They did not disrupt the speech or shout at the speaker whom they disagreed with. They protested in a peaceful and non-verbal way and that took faith and courage.
Posted by Tim1584 on May 1, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
@119 Do you think the way Dan talked to those kids about the Bible was to aggressive, Kim? Forgive me if you've already addressed this in a previous post. Things have gotten crazy around here the last couple of days. People's voices get lost in the wind.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on May 1, 2012 at 6:21 PM · Report this
kim in portland 119
I spent years and years reading it from cover to cover. I spent years in Bible study. Eventually they asked me to start writing Bible studies. I really loved the studying. To start reading things in Greek and Hebrew, to read the eighteen Gospels that aren't included in the Bible, all the interpolations or non-Pauline additions in the Epistles of Paul, comparing "ponies" (literal translations) with "dynamic equivalent" (analyzing a semantic unit in its source language for their meanings before translating into the target language), the Church history and the controversy that choosing which Epistle was "authentic", and all the Catholic and Orthodox liturgies for same-sex unions from. It has been a wonderful journey. I didn't find that it made contradicting passages within the sixty three (Protestant) books collectively called the Bible any clearer. It actually pointed towards multiple authors. Which is in agreement that is comprised of ancient traditions over a span of about 2100 years, written over a 1200 year period more than 2000 years ago. All that studying illuminates that it originates from a worldview that is now outmoded as those context of those social cultures are long faded. All that study of the Bible and its history, for me, puts the Bible in its proper place as a piece of literature which addresses human issues and firmly removed it from the pedestal that many seem driven to "worship". Humans read the symbols upon a page (or computer screen) and humans give those symbols meaning. Humans will find the meaning they want to find within the pages of the Bible and thus they will pick and choose to justify the answers they need. That is what I came away with.

Or I can sum it up this way. Think of your religious convictions as you do your genitals. They are private. They are lovely to explore and can honorably be shared with consensual partners. And it is always immoral to yank them out of your pants and cram them down your neighbors' throat. Have the respect and decency to allow others to find their own "truth".

Kind regards.
Posted by kim in portland on May 1, 2012 at 6:09 PM · Report this
I suspect that "goof" is a misspelling of "go off," for what it's worth.
Posted by midwaypete on May 1, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 117
The entire book of Philemon is addressed to a slave telling that slave NOT to run away but to return to his master. One would have thought that would be THE PERFECT opportunity to denounce slavery.

#97 We are under GOD'S LOVE, men show NO SUCH LOVE. No you are not the loving man you think you are.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 1, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
(PS - all of the above is from conservative Jewish commentary on the Bible, specifically in Etz Chaim.)
Posted by Hal_10000 on May 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
OK, one pet peeve:

"God giving dads the okay to sell their daughters into slavery"

This is incorrect and is the result of a mistranslation. The passage in Exodus refers to selling daughters into *marriage*. While bride prices may be repulsive to us, they were practiced in ancient world and are still practiced today. What that passage is specifically about is that a man is not allowed to mistreat his wife if she was married off so her father could pay off debts.

Interestingly, that passage in Exodus 21 also says that a man may not deny his wife food, shelter or "ointment". Most biblical scholars understand ointment to be a euphemism for sex. That is, the Old Testament says that women are entitled to sex. Maybe you should throw THAT at the fundies. You can also remind them that any time the Bible says someone put his hand under someone's thigh, it meant he taking hold of his penis to swear an oath by its generative power, a common practice in biblical times.

Your other comments are spot on. The thing that people fail to realize about the Bible is that, in the time it was written, it was a very liberal document -- much more progressive than the Hammurabic Code or anything like that. Blood feuds were ended, human sacrifice ended, a system of justice put in place (giving the death penalty requires two witness; a stronger burden of proof than, say, Texas). And there thousands of years of commentary that have continually re-interpreted that to make it ever more modern. The conservative Jewish movement -- hardly a bunch of left wingers -- has specifically rejected many of the anti-gay provisions of the Old Testament.

This is just highlighter fundamentalism.
Posted by Hal_10000 on May 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Am I the only one who read the unregisterd comment #107 in a strange voice?
Posted by mykoolaid58 on May 1, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
sirkowski 111
"as opposed to the good kind of slavery"

Posted by sirkowski on May 1, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Report this
The literal interpretation of the Bible is a very new concept. It has only been in fashon the past 100 years or so. For the thousands of years before that, nobody at all thought the Bible should be taken literally. Those people who take the Bible literally are deviating badly from its original intention. How can anyone read it for more than a few minutes without realizing that it contradicts itself every which way? There are a lot of people out there building their religious beliefs on very shaky ground.
Posted by SeattleKim on May 1, 2012 at 5:07 PM · Report this
This is an excellent and reasoned piece. I wish more devout Christians could take a step back from their faith -- often learned and accepted from an early age without examination -- and recognize the obvious problems with a literal interpretation of the Bible.

You of course can take moral lessons from the Bible, be a loving Christian who understands it is a document with a historical context. But an approach of "God wrote this; IT IS TRUE" simply cannot be applied wholesale to modern life. If you accept the Bible's condemnation of homosexuals simply because it is in the Bible, then you must by necessity condemn yourself for any number of other things in there. If all of the Bible is literally true, Jesus will be awfully lonely waiting for people who qualify for heaven.

To be hypocrite, to pick and choose the parts of the Bible which you can accept and which parts can be ignored, you have to believe one of two things: (1) that you are able to speak for God and His intentions, which makes you a blasphemer, or (2) that God speaks directly to you and has told you what is true, which makes you a lunatic.

My favorite, most commonly ignored part of the Bible: Jesus never says anything about gay people, or about slavery, but he openly condemns the rich. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, so if this country's powerful Christian leaders want to get right with God on the basis of the Bible, they might want to start with a vow of poverty. Any takers? ... Anyone?
Posted by Daniel_NY on May 1, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this
The thing I don't get is....
Why the hell do you have a stick up your ass about what other people stick up their ass. Ok so you believe in god and the bible and you do what god says, why does it matter if people don't follow gods rules? Shouldn't it be up to god to punish the people who are gay, pre marital sex shellfish lover.
I have never read the bible and I don't plan to because the bible is bullshit. God did not write it, no a bunch of men wrote it and it was translated from Latin. I do not doubt for a second that the people who wrote the bible and the people who translated it didn't write or change thing to fit their agenda.

Also the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT is supposed to be separeted from the church, that means that NO LAWS should be written to comply with the bible. If you don't like it GTFO and go somewhere that does.
Posted by mykoolaid58 on May 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Jesus died for your sins, ladies and gentlemen. I'm doing it for your mere entertainment.

-Doug Stanhope.
Posted by The Orange Plox on May 1, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Ophian 103
Also @ 100: Fuck Off.

"It is not slavery that is wrong but how they could have been treated. I would like you to think of something. Remember, God is love."

Okay, you should have stopped way before you got to that. Now fuck the fuck off.
Posted by Ophian on May 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
@96 acoolerclimate. I have done some research, and you are nowhere close. They prohibited many things mostly because the Jews needed to set themselves apart from the pagans at the time. They had a strong need to keep everything in its place. "Clean" fish have fins. Shellfish don't have fins, so they are not "clean" fish. "Clean" barnyard animals have cloven hooves and chew their cuds. Pigs don't chew their cuds so they are unclean. Men are to be the "active" sexual partner, and women the "passive". For a man to have penetrative sex with another man, that other man would become passive, and therefore no longer be assuming the position of the male. This totally had to do with gender expression, not sexual identity. They had no concept of gay or straight back then. It all boiled down to people behaving according to their gender norms. Women dressed and behaved like women. Men dressed and behaved like men. There was no prohibition against female same-sex relationships because A) there was no penetration, so they could not assume the male active role or take virginity away; and B) women were property, so since they could not impregnate each other, or do any "damage" who cared?

Here is the kicker. There was a definite "caste" system in place. Those who had political or economic power were higher up the ladder. They could use those men lower on the ladder sexually, as long as there was no penetration. So apprentices, servants etc, were commonly used sexually. They didn't see this as strange, because the man in power was the "active" sexual partner. The passive one was the submissive one because he didn't (yet) have any power. So as long as there WAS a power differential, a same sex relationship was acceptable if kept low key. Today, that is the very thing that is seen as abusive.
Posted by SeattleKim on May 1, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
If one accepts the New Testament, one has to accept the entirety of the Old Testament, taking the so-called good with the unambiguously bad. In doing so, the entire New Testament is rendered hypocritical. Here's why:

1) God both commands and approves of slavery, looting, and genocide, going so far as to actively engage in the latter.

(Of many the many examples of this sprinkled throughout the Old Testament, here is a long passage that includes all of the above:
Joshua 8:1-11:23)

2) Jesus is God.

(Does this really need to be cited? If one wishes to state that the Trinity makes Jesus distinct from "God the Father", please reference the following:
John 1:1,14, 8:24, 10:30-33, 20:28-29, and Colossians 2:8-10)

3) If God both commands and approves of slavery, looting, and genocide, going so far as to actively engage in the latter, and Jesus is God, ergo, Jesus both commands and approves of slavery, looting, and genocide, going so far as to actively engage in the latter.

So much for the Prince of Peace.
Posted by changingape on May 1, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Dear Dan, You seem to know much about the bible. That is good. There are though many interpretations of the bible. It reads in scripture God is good. He also is love. We humans are not infallible. We have made many mistakes since the birth of creation and we will continue to do so, yet many of us not willingly. God made laws to follow through the law of the Jews in the old Testement. We would not know we were sinners if not for the law, would you agree. Slavery is a huge topic. You cannot generalize it. I will give you an example. If you owed someone money and you could not repay nor had anything of value to repay the debt you could offer yourself as a servant until the debt was paid. This is not wrong to do.The slaves of the South was another example, that was wrong. In the bible people did own slaves They could have been captives from a battle. Here we have a people who would have been killed put in servitude. Was that wrong? They were fed, even protected. In many cases they became members of one's household. It is not slavery that is wrong but how they could have been treated. I would like you to think of something. Remember, God is love. Christ paid a price to prove how loving He is. No matter what anyone has done in life, they can ask the Lord into their heart and repent and he will be forgiven. No matter what someone has done as Christ paid the price. We have made many mistakes in the past. You have also. Repent and come to the Lord before it is too late. Sin is sin. Sin is an evil act that goes against God. We are all sinners. I am also but I have been saved by grace through the love of Christ. I pray you accept this comment with the love in which it was written. K Accomando
Posted by on May 1, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Ophian 99
@ 97

Fuck you. If you want to spend your time abhorring what I do in my life that brings joy to myself and others, and giving long-winded rambles about how, if I just saw things your way then I would agree with you... just fuck off.

The boiler-plate Xtianist bullshit about "loving the sinner" and "we are all sinners" is simply cheap claptrap to make you think you are being a decent human being while you stop by to let me, and others like me, know how much you disapprove of my life. So shut the fuck up and fuck off.

Fuck. Off.

...but you know I don't hate you, just the way you act.
Posted by Ophian on May 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Ophian 98
"The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell."

"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."

--Bertrand Russell
Posted by Ophian on May 1, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Dan, I hope you read this and use my thoughts. Forgive me if I say some things incorrectly but here is my take.

Isn't the part of Leviticus where it mentions "Man lying with Man as with a women" in the part where they are talking about health issues? Unclean, etc? The whole part about not eating shellfish (because back then they didn't realize you had to cook lobster while it was still alive, and the fact that shellfish often harbors some crappy germs) was to keep people healthy. Perhaps the part about women going out back when they have their period was for the same reason. Anyhow, think about the times back then. No toilet paper, little bathing, so just imagine the state of people's anus's. So perhaps this was just a passage to not have anal sex because to them at the time, the anus was a pretty dirty spot. When it says don't lie with a man as with a woman, maybe it's being specific about don't put your penis inside an anus because it was yuck (unclean). It doesn't say no oral sex. It doesn't say you can't love another man, it doesn't say you can't rub against each other or give hand jobs, and it doesn't say woman can't lie with woman as with a man. (they probably thought women didn't use their anus's that way when they were with other women.

So now of course we can get rid of this because we've learned much more about the anus and we are much cleaner.We've also learned that using a condom can protect against illness. Just like we've learned that shellfish can be eaten safely and that women are not unclean when they are having their period's.

Posted by acoolerclimate on May 1, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
@27 All right, no one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle. Even... and I want to make this absolutely clear... even if they do say, "Jehovah".

There are a number of semantic dodges to justify Matthew 5:17-20, including a sermon by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church. I can't understand why, if the bible is the word of God, it requires quite so much determined rationalisation.
Posted by Baron Victor Von Ottersmutt on May 1, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Iris Vander Pluym 94
@ 52 "Dan, I wonder why you even bother to respond to these people. They are largely unteachable, incapable of critical thinking, unable, I think, to even think for themselves."

I didn't think Dan was responding to these people: you're right that they're irrational and for the most part unreachable. It's everyone else who is listening, lurking and amenable to reason who need to hear a response. The alternative is to ignore this BS, and, well, that doesn't generally work out very well for anyone except the bigots and @$$holes.
Posted by Iris Vander Pluym on May 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
@84: It's true that Levitican and Roman slavery were things that might befall anyone. But the writer didn't just say it was slightly less severe if the laws were actually enforced; he compared it to indentured servitude, from which it was quite different.

I went and looked up the punishment for killing a slave, which is oddly vague. i.e. One should be punished. In a section that's all about very precise punishments for other stuff. e.g. If a man has sex with a female slave who is engaged or married, he has to give an animal sacrifice. She is to be whipped.
Posted by IPJ on May 1, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Wow. Way to stick it to the intellectual contortionists, Dan!

When any evangelicals or others out to convert me ask me in patronizing tones whether I have ever read the Bible, I delight in informing them that yes, indeed I have, and that's why I'm an atheist today.
Posted by JrzWrld on May 1, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Josh is factually wrong about the nature of slavery in Roman times. It was not anything remotely benign, as he implies when he compares it to "indentured servitude." Slaves were war captives and insolvent debtors who were treated with extreme violence and had no legal protections of any kind. They could be - and frequently were - beaten, raped, tortured, and even killed by their masters, who could legally do anything to them, at any time for any reason. Roman slavery was at least as bad as, and arguably even worse than, slavery in the antebellum US South. I don't know where Josh got this idea, but it wasn't from anybody who knew what they were talking about.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on May 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 90
@ 52, the point is that there are a lot of kids reading this stuff. They're a lot more pliable than the people you think Dan's answering, even if they're thumping that bible now. And not just kids - there are millions of adults who have probably never given this stuff any critical thought, but are encountering this now thanks to all the tweets and FB posts pinging all over the place. Believe it or not, but many people simply haven't formed a strong opinion before, have probably gone along with all the bigotry in the past and are now having a chance to learn what's what. THOSE are the people who need to be reached.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
Bonefish 88
84: "Gentler than the worst possible form" is far too low a bar for people trying to proclaim ultimate moral authority. The slavery criticism still stands.

Especially since people did use it to justify the harsher American form of slavery. Maybe people think it's unfair to ask, "If the Bible got slavery wrong, what else did it get wrong?" Fine. Ask this instead, then: "If Christians can get the Bible's stance on slavery wrong, what else can they get wrong?"

You'll find that there's no possible approach whatsoever (literalism vs. open interpretation; historical contextualization vs. divine inspiration, bad interpretation then vs. good interpretation now, etc) that allows us to claim that [Biblical Law X] is a straightforward statement of God's will while [Biblical Law Y] was just sort of a temporary suggestion.
Posted by Bonefish on May 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
As a slightly conservative christian, I must say I agree with Dan 100%. Keep on speaking the truth you're getting through to more people then you know.
Posted by Daniel Francis on May 1, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Bonefish 86
In summary, anti-gay bigots want to shrug off biblical laws that would inconvenience them, but force others to follow laws that they (personally) happen to approve of. They want to take the Old Testament seriously when it can be used to damn others, but then turn around and dismiss it when it can be used to criticize them.

There are several words that come to mind when witnessing this type of behavior: hypocrite, coward, pampered, inconsistent, delusional, dishonest, weak. You'll notice that "Christ-like" isn't included in that list.

If Christians want us to stop talking about the Old Testament, then they need to quit bringing it up.
Posted by Bonefish on May 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
germane. you fucking idiot.
Posted by from_ohio on May 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Actually, one of those guys made a good point: Slavery has taken many forms throughout human history. Historians usually divide it into industrial slavery (ancient Egypt, Rome and the U.S.) and domestic slavery (Leviticus, Incas). American slavery was actually one of the cruelest and most brutal forms. I doubt that any form of slavery was good for the slaves, but the kind described in Leviticus--limited rights for slaves, all slaves set free once every fifty years, punishments for masters who killed their slaves, and no concept of slaves as an essentially different type of person (as in Dred Scott)--is at least a little gentler than the kind that sparked our civil war.

Oh, and Paul didn't just condemn homosexual sex. He didn't like heterosexual sex either.
Posted by DRF on May 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 83
I can't believe how much time people have to waste researching the bible to combat Christian apologetics that haven't even read/researched the damn thing.

Dan, no better use of your time? Trolls, do not feed them.
Posted by Westlake, son! on May 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Following off 59, I like The Good Book by David Plotz. A cultural but not religious Jew stumbles across the story of Dina while flipping through the Bible (at a Bat Mitzvah, natch), a story years of childhood religious education skipped over. Curiosity engaged, he reads the whole thing (Old Testament, and I wish I knew a similar book for the New). It pulls out all the stuff that gets left out or skipped over. (The begats! Sometimes interesting!) When the Jews tell God they want a king, and God points to someone who is very tall, and the people are like "Ooooh, he IS very tall! That's an important quality in a leader," it is way too close to modern presidential elections.
Posted by IPJ on May 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
@9 Excellent advice, and a pretty good description of the Quaker meeting I ended up joining.

If one believes in that love and compassion, it's hard not to also believe in equal rights. We do. We just finished our advance registration for this year's Pride parade. We've marched in every single one, starting in 1970.

@59 Amen. I couldn't possibly agree more.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on May 1, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
@42: We need a Jew, or someone conversant with Judaism 201. But basically, no, the old testament, and Judaism, do not have hell. (Funny line on The Good Wife this week. Also, all Jews believe in God, every one of them, if it will end Eli's interview with Jackie earlier.)
Posted by IPJ on May 1, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Corylea 79
@10 -- Love it!
Posted by Corylea on May 1, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
"The lesson here? The Bible is a sprawling and contradictory text that got some stuff wrong—some very big stuff ..."
And if that doesn't convince you the bible is man-made I don't know what will ...

If I could rationalize and contort plain statements as apologists do I'd never have to worry about failing an exam again ... You can essentially argue both sides of almost any issue if you use the bible as your source.
Posted by earnric on May 1, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
"The lesson here? The Bible is a sprawling and contradictory text that got some stuff wrong—some very big stuff ..."
And if that doesn't convince you the bible is man-made I don't know what will ...

If I could rationalize and contort plain statements as apologists do I'd never have to worry about failing an exam again ... You can essentially argue both sides of almost any issue if you use the bible as your source.
Posted by earnric on May 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 76
Is there gonna be a rope swing at the eternal lake of fire? Maybe I can finally learn to do a flip!
Posted by mikethehammer on May 1, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
@67: I have always thought the miracle of the loaves and fishes is a stunningly powerful story if read as one of a single child's generosity causing everyone else to share what they have, thereby discovering that united they have enough for all and more besides. Jesus waving his hands and performing that expansion spell Hermione used to do on sandwiches is much less impressive.
Posted by IPJ on May 1, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
You know, these aren't the major points but I'm sure the previous 70 comments hit those, so:

In the first letter, Revelations (and the rest of the Bible) says nothing of the sort. The various 1000 year sentences are like some personal revelation stuff or something.

In the last letter, while it is true that Roman slavery was different from American slavery (lacking the racial aspect, slaves of higher status could save up enough to buy their freedom and then promptly became slave owners themselves, etc: basically, anyone with sufficient luck could wind up either master or slave) it was nothing like indentured servitude. Which had its abuses, but did actually have a set limit of 7 years at which point you went free. Which was a contract with the employer providing certain things. Which did not include the right to beat the servant to death, rape them, et cetera. Being a slave completely sucked and deprived you of all legal rights to diddly squat, in 1000 BC or 42 AD or 1800 AD. Pretending those were all happy family slaves who loved their masters and would have wept to leave them is a weird happy gloss on an eternally dark practice.
Posted by IPJ on May 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
there is no arguing, unfortunately, with fundamentalists. they have already decided to cover their ears and sing "la la la" regarding the many many many contradictions in the bible. this isn't about logic. there is no logic to fundamentalism. they believe that the bible is inerrant and True and if there are contradictions, well, god understands, even if they don't. so it doesn't matter. and there you have it. you can argue logic with them til the cows come home, and it will not make one bit of difference as long as they are committed to reading the bible through a fundamentalist lens.

some of us christians view the bible very differently. we see it as a sacred text full of wisdom, that tells a Truth that is bigger than facts. it doesn't matter if the bible is factually true, or if it always makes sense, or even if it gets things -- Big Things -- wrong. of course it does. it is the wisdom of god filtered through the myths and tales and poetry and history of very fallible human beings. it holds more, not less, wisdom for being all that, in my mind.

and then, some of us christians actually believe that god did not stop speaking to and through us once the bible got canonized. in my denomination (the united church of christ), we say "never put a period where god has put a comma; god is still speaking."

and finally, i once went to the bar mitzvah of a very wise young man who was a naturalist and outdoorsman (and who had hiked a big chuck of the AT with my wife, his middle school teacher) who got the noah story for his torah portion. and in his talk, he said that the only way he could figure out how god could kill so much of the natural world in the flood was by assuming that god just got it wrong. god, he said, was still learning how to be god. this kid was wise, and his congregation applauded him for his wisdom. there are people of faith who are not fundamentalists, but those who are? really kinda pointless, i fear, to argue with them.
Posted by martarose on May 1, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this
lambcannon 72
"Anyone who pretends to understand something they can't possibly know is evil"

(or something like that)

Savage Comics #1, 1993

true then, true now
Posted by lambcannon on May 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 71
@52, @53 – Dan needs to keep this discussion going. He is responding to religious dogma with logic and reason. Will he convert the religious fanatics into believing that homosexuality can be reconciled with biblical narratives? No. He (we) do not need to. He merely needs to sway enough of the moderates, who also consider themselves Christians, that the proscription against homosexuality is akin to those against other "sins" that we all practice. If you win the moderates over, you politically neuter the fundamentalists.

To give a personal account - I had always been relatively accepting of GLBT issues, but had a personal opposition to gay marriage, gay adoption, etc. I started reading Savage for the sex advice and stayed for the political discussions, including those that opened my eyes to why gay marriage is a civil right. I also read the underlying studies that showed children of LGBT relationships fare just as well as two parent households. Once I realized my views were based on bigotry and not defendable on science or otherwise, I changed (or "evolved" as the President says).

I have killed too many hours reading all the comments - here, the Washington Post, and some conservative Blogs. Leaving aside the rhetoric of whether Dan was too harsh with the journalist students, I have yet to see a single convincing comment refuting his central assertion: even assuming the bible is the word of God, it is selectively enforced against gay people. Dan is forcing people to confront the hypocrisy of their religious beliefs

Keep the dialogue going Dan.
Posted by Tim Horton on May 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
"You will soon see Who has the last laugh."

Well, obviously it's not going to be Keith or John. I don't know, though, it's kind of hard to say if Roger or Pete is more likely to die next. Then again, do Kenny Jones or John "Rabbit" Bundrick count?
Posted by LML on May 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Cracker Jack 69
@55: Ooh! I like it, but I think I prefer to think about it as a Renaissance Faire! Satan is played by a balding, doughy 47-year old (who was probably really hot when he started playing the role 20 years ago). The demons are all high-school kids on summer break who like to sneak behind the cardboard cutout flames for a quick smoke and some grabass with Shelly, the damned-soul-on-a-stick girl.
Posted by Cracker Jack on May 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
@30 Yes, I know. I agree with you ;)
Posted by BlagHag on May 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Although I do not think Jesus rose from the dead to cleanse us of our sins (or that that needs doing), I think he was a wise man with a lot of good things to say. I have always personally looked to the story of the people reaping and eating in the field on the sabbath. The church elders, who are trying to trap Jesus, ask, "Aren't thee people wrong to eat on the sabbath?" Jesus replies, "I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the temple. The Scripture says, 'I don't want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.' You don't really know what those words mean. If you understood those words, then you would not judge those people that have done nothing wrong." I have always taken this to mean: God isn't a dick, people. Don't use the "laws" of the bible to hurt innocent people. But, then again, that's just what I think.
Posted by BonnieRS on May 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Posted by catyrose on May 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
My fundie brother has used "it was Christians who spoke out against slavery" defence as well, to which I reply, "luckily there are some who are speaking out for LGBT now."

Posted by WanderingSoul on May 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
This means I'm technically famous now, right?

--Don Gwinn
Posted by Don Gwinn on May 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM · Report this
You wrote: Oh, BTW, Jesus was a Jew so he only believed in the old testament. So you believe something Jesus had no belief in. Wonder what he would have said about that???

The corrolary is that, if Jesus belived in the Old Testament only, and you don't believe in it, how can you justify a belief in Jesus?
Posted by Clayton on May 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM · Report this
smajor82 61
At the end of the day, support for gay rights in the United States is growing rapidly. These idiots fighting against it are getting louder and louder to compensate for the ever decreasing number of voices on their side.

I'm guessing all the anger comes from being constantly reminded of how silly and infantile their beliefs are. A big lake of fire where the sky man and his flying helpers send bad people??? I'm about as worried about that as I am worried about running into Santa flying a plane on Christmas Eve.
Posted by smajor82 on May 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Helix 60
After growing up in an Episcopalian family, going to church and being preached to by a lesbian reverend every Sunday, and being confirmed by a black, lesbian bishop (also one of the other bishops was a gay man), I have 0 patience for any Christian who uses Christianity to justify bigotry, because it's nothing less than complete and utter horseshit. I don't practice anymore and I'm basically an atheist at this point, but I still remember being taught that "love thy neighbor" and "forgive others their trespasses" are the most important lessons I could ever learn.

Christians who don't hold those two things above all else, are not Christians. Period.
Posted by Helix on May 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Fortunate 59
It's almost Orwellian the way that Christians are trying to redefine the idea of slavery to suggest that Biblical slavery really wasn't bad, or re-write history to suggest that Bible believing Christians of the old south didn't use the Bible as justification to keep other human beings a property.

It seems that most Christians don't even read the Bible. But what is even worse is that those who do seem to only do so under supervision. They do it in Bible study groups and classes, or with their Bible guides in their other hand, all telling them how they are supposed to interpret the Bible. They don't just read the Bible and simply see what it says.

I don't know if Jesus actually existed, but what I do know is that the Jesus depicted in the Bible would be disgusted with much of what passes for Christianity today. The lack of compassion, the lack of care for the poor and the homeless, the greed, the prosperity theology... it all goes directly against what the Bible says he preached.

Jesus walked barefoot feeding the hungry and healing the sick. He had nothing but the clothes on his back. The Pope lives in a palace, wears Prada shoes, and eats off gold dinnerware.

And I am supposed to trust him and the rest of the money grubbing, self serving Christian preachers as guides to what Jesus wants? I don't need them to know. I can read, and I can see they have it all wrong.
Posted by Fortunate on May 1, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Dan--you've failed us!

In citing people who use the "slavery was good for the slaves" argument, you left out Michelle Bachmann!…
Posted by Clayton on May 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Knat 57
"The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible." - Mark Twain

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." - Mark Twain
Posted by Knat on May 1, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Fnarf 56
"My 5% Christianity is better than your 5% Christianity".

Go, Dan, go.
Posted by Fnarf on May 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
switzerblog 55
@42 hell came along later. And our modern conception of hell doesn't even exist in the bible, Dante created that shit. The modern conception of hell is just a product of pop culture over the years, just like the "old west".
Posted by switzerblog on May 1, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Mattini 54
Why are so many Christian so unaware of what's written in the book they're so adamant about claiming to follow? They already expect non-believers to argue using their rules, but what's the point when they don't understand their own belief system?
Posted by Mattini on May 1, 2012 at 1:08 PM · Report this
I'm with #52, here. Shooting fish in a barrel has got to get pretty boring after a while.
Posted by tkc on May 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Dan, I wonder why you even bother to respond to these people. They are largely unteachable, incapable of critical thinking, unable, I think, to even think for themselves. The hypocrisy they demonstrate with their bible should clue you in that their position has little or nothing to do with their religion or their god; it's about their own fear and self-loathing. It just seems all that energy you spend dueling with them might be better spent.

"The highest quality that a human being can reach is to be independent of the good opinion of others." Abraham Maslow
Posted by parisimo on May 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
In ancient Rome, the slave owner could have sex with his slaves when he wanted to.

Not that that was a BAD thing by todays standards because all Romans were exquisite lovers and when the slaves were freed they would often go back to their own people and tell them how great it was to be a slave in Rome with such sexually adventurous masters.

What is it with this "slavery was different back then" bullshit?
Slavery is slavery.
The Bible even talks about beating your slave so bad that he loses an eye and what you have to do to make it up to God at that point.

Hence the origin of the "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" saying.

Exodus 21:26
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on May 1, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Here's my idea:

How about we offer a $5000 scholarship to any kids at Sutter Union High School in Sutter, California, where these pansy-assed walk-out students came from, who want to start a GSA at their school.

The school is obviously run by the extreme right, as the Journalism teacher is doing interviews about the offense he took to his religion being challenged with naughty words to FOX NEWS!!! The school also supports a group called YOUTH ALIVE which "is a Christian club on campus that provides a place during school hours where Christian teens may find fellowship and support with other Christian teens."

There is no GSA at the school.

Sutter, CA has a population of nearly 3000 (the same number as kids at the lecture Dan gave) and the 2010 Census shows that 7 same-sex married couples or partnerships exist in Sutter.

There have got to be some LGBT kids in that school (the only high school in the district) that are really fucking alone.

Every city rep, state rep and congress-person in the district is a Republican.

How about we piss them off and fund the beginning of a GSA at their school?
Posted by doubtroub on May 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Ugh, sorry about the typos, wordfarts. Fixing now.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
pfffter 48
@41 That last one is one the whole Republican party, right-wing religious nutjobs included, forget completely. Fucking heartless hypocrites.
Posted by pfffter on May 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
balderdash 47
Also, you definitely do not get to trumpet Biblical innerancy and then claim that the Old Testament "doesn't count." Either the Bible is a work of fiction, or it all counts, you guys. You don't get to pick which parts are the Word of Yahjuselawayayawooha, and which are just some boring old words you kinda skimmed over in Sunday School once.
Posted by balderdash on May 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
kim in portland 46

But, that does not eliminate the truth that Christians had slaves...
Posted by kim in portland on May 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Just post Matthew 5:18-20, show everyone that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, endorsed the Old Testament in it's entirety. Either the book is the word of God or it's not.
Posted by chrismathewsjr on May 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Fight Dan fight!

Great stuff.

OT: 400 years BCE there was a guy running around with a better golden rule:
"Do not do unto others as you would not have them do into you."

That one solves a few problems created by the later version (eliminating all the non-consensual stuff that could come from it.)
Posted by Sifu on May 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
I think the economics of the pre-industrial age made slavery inevitable. In 1775 when the first reliable coal powered steam engines were built, slavery was a near-universal human institution. Within a hundred years it was nearly extinct. I don't think slavery ended because 19th century people had some dramatic moral epiphany and realized owning other people was wrong. I think slavery was abolished because machines powered by burning fossil fuels could get the job done faster and cheaper. If humanity exhausts the world's oil supply w/o discovering another source of cheap energy (cold fusion or whatever) I expect we'll go back to owning people.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on May 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
One thing that bugs me is: why is hell(or heaven for that matter) NEVER mentioned in the old testament? Does that even make sense? Or did hell just get invented after the Roman Catholic Church got their greedy little hands on it and decided to scare the shit out of people??
Posted by bella bee on May 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 41
Some NT stuff that modern Christians ignore.

1 Peter 3
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

1 Timothy 2
11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Luke 12:33
33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

That's just a few more examples of NT verses that Christians like to pretend don't exist.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on May 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
rob! 40
Where you're from, Dan, pissing on the third rail results in electrocution. XD

Thank FSM words don't conduct electricity, and keep up the good work. I don't know how you find the energy, but I'm happy you do.
Posted by rob! on May 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
@35 Beat me by seconds! Great minds think alike and all that!
Posted by carnivorous chicken on May 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
kim in portland 38
The wish to believe that the Bible does not endorse slavery or that Christians did not use the Bible to justify slavery may always result in a great expendersture of both emotional and intellectual energy. The other thread is full of such individuals. The Internet makes it possible to probe the topic, but that will not stop the apologetics. Self-delusion to maintain their beliefs is better than honestly accepting the truth. It is a shame.

"Several prominent early church fathers advocated slavery, either directly or indirectly. Augustine of Hippo, who renounced his former Manicheanism, argued that slavery was part of the mechanism to preserve the natural order of things. Augustine Of Hippo, City of God"

"John Chrysostom, while he described slavery as the fruit of covetousness, of extravagance, of insatiable greediness in his Epist. ad Ephes,also argued that slaves should be resigned to their fate, as by obeying his master he is obeying God."

""St Thomas Aquinas in mid-thirteenth century accepted the new Aristotelian view of slavery as well as the titles of slave ownership derived from Roman civil law, and attempted - without complete success - to reconcile them wit Christian patristic tradition. He takes the patristic theme... that slavery exists is a consequence of original sin and says that it exists according to the "second intention" of nature; it would not have existed in the state of original innocence according to the "first intention" of nature; in this way he can explain the Aristotelian teaching that some people are slaves "by nature" like inanimate instruments, because of their personal sins; for since the slave cannot work for his own benefit slavery is necessarily a punishment. He accepts the symbiotic master-slave relationship as being mutually beneficial. There should be no punishment without some crime, so slavery as a penalty is a matter of positive law. St Thomas' explanation continued to be expounded at least until the end of the 18th century"

"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts" - Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America

"Every hope of the existence of church and state, and of civilization itself, hangs upon our arduous effort to defeat the doctrine of Negro suffrage" - Robert Dabney, a prominent 19th century Southern Presbyterian pastor

"... the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example" - Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention

All quotes found by using Google. You can start with Wikipedia and follow links.

I do recognize that during the first century that believed that a slave who converted to Christianity then he could buy his freedom from his Christian master. But Christian masters were not obligated to allow their slaves to buy their freedom. That is what many believed was the outcome that is implied in Philemon. But, that does not eliminate the truth that Christians no longer had slaves. History reports that churches participated in the slave trade. Early church fathers argued in favor of it. Or that popes kept them. It did not stop captured Muslims from being enslaved; in the 12th century, and their being forced to carry out the grand reconstruction of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. History holds the truth. The Bible was used as justification for the enslavement of humans. It is silly to say it was not and it is impossible to say if it ever was intended to. Still, some will argue against history. That is a shame in my opinion.

Sorry for the longwindedness.
Posted by kim in portland on May 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Allyn 37
I'm listening once again to The Good Book by Tim Minchin. Lovely backdrop to all this.

@35 I struggled with that line. WTF?
Posted by Allyn on May 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Apparently homosexuals are not homosapiens?
Posted by carnivorous chicken on May 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Zebes 35
"It means Jesus loves homosexuals as well as homosapiens."

Heavens to betsy!
Posted by Zebes on May 1, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
this is probably why we should stop trying to justify actions based on the bible. it has good stuff and bad stuff in it, true....but how about we all just use our brains. i think we all know how to be a nice person without a book.
Posted by Cabusi on May 1, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
It's still just insane to me that it's 2012 and we're arguing profusely about things like gay / women rights. So much so that we've become a nation that is ignoring the things that are really disrupting a country that has incredible potential. It's also unfortunate that a mind like Dan Savage's has to be used to defend every action he takes when he could be using his time / energy into doing more good than what he's already been able to accomplish. Don't burn yourself out Dan - your community needs you. If anything, we should all take a stand over the sheer size and power the government has over things as personal as body / sexuality freedoms. I can't walk into someones house, grab their bible and throw it away in the trash just because I don't believe in it. Why something like the government think it can come into the homes of hundreds of millions of Americans, grab their vaginas - and throw them away just the same is insane. They don't belong in our women's vaginas, or to be telling who can love whom - it's 2012 for crying out loud.
Posted by RevBAFrederick on May 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 32
... the type of slavery which is mainly dealt with by the apostle Paul is more of an indentured servitude which may be voluntary or involuntary and is more akin to a work apprenticeship in most cases.
Hmmm. I guess that makes your Unpaid Interns a local modern-day equivalent???

::wanders off snickering at Josh::
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on May 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Dan, one thing you don't cite, but I think is also important to bring up is that there are not even any anti-homosexual verses in the bible that are definitely attributed to Paul. The key verses that are usually cited depend on a very rare Greek word transliterated roughly as Arsenokoitai. The exact meaning of this word is unknown, but it is a compound word that literally means 'man-couch'. Only recent translations of the bible translate it as homosexual, and in fact, earlier translations of the bible translate it as masturbator. Scholarly research into this word, however, seems to indicate it to mean some kind of sexual commerce is attached to this word, thus it may have actually meant 'those who pimp male prostitutes'. Other research indicates that it might have referred to sacred shrine prostitution as was practiced in the worship of the goddess Asheroth. The greeks, of course, were well aware of male homosexuality and had many more common words to describe it. Had Paul been preaching against this, he likely would have used erastes, eromenos, or paiderasste which are much more common words than arsenokoitai, which appears only 77 times in all known ancient greek manuscripts. Some excellent online articles can be found at… and… but the long and short of it is that unless a Christian who tells you Paul condemned homosexuality is also an ancient Greek scholar, he's full of shit.
Posted by quinntheeskimo on May 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 30
18, But you're selectively leaving off the rest of the verse.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven

It says you must still practice OT law.

Posted by Rob in Baltimore on May 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
pfffter 29
Good on you, Dan, for taking the time for this. I would just tell them all to fuck right off and to shove their holy book up their assy hole.
Posted by pfffter on May 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
very bad homo 28
It must take so much energy to believe in all of this crap and try to force it upon others.

Ya know, just let me burn in Hell. It's not your problem.
Posted by very bad homo on May 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
The first email is a real gem. "God is not mocked!"

"Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!"

Dear Dan, please keep fighting the ignoramuses, you are doing a stellar job.
Posted by seniorrobot on May 1, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
"Mock on, pervert."

Indeed, pervert Dan, mock on. Keep on keeping on! You're right, they know it. End of story.
Posted by MLM on May 1, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 25
Gotta love the "well slavery was better back then" argument.

As if it is just fine and moral to own another person as long as you don't totally starve or kill them.

If you are trying to justify slavery to protect your religion, you have come way off base. Come back to the light of reason my friends.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Dan, you are trying to make sense of nonsense.

The Bible was written (and rewritten) by a cast of thousands and someone thinks it will make sense? I think Cecil B. DeMille's version of the Bible makes as much sense (and it did have a cast of thousands).

"...don't wear white after Labor Day.." Very funny.
Posted by westello on May 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
--MC 23
I love how the fundies imagine that we haven't read the Book. We have, we do, we can see things in it that you don't.

But what I want to know is where is the Slog story on this editorial from this weekend's NYT?…
Posted by --MC on May 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Suddenly I can see the tweet on the mobile version! Thankyoubabyjesus!
Posted by gloomy gus on May 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 21
Jesus ate pie for your sins.

Or something like that.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on May 1, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
"...the type of slavery which is mainly dealt with by the apostle Paul is more of an indentured servitude which may be voluntary or involuntary and is more akin to a work apprenticeship in most cases."

Josh is just plain full of shit here. In the Roman world, slaves were the spoils of war. The legions would crush resistance, kill every adult male and haul all the women and children back to Rome as human chattel. They had no rights and could be bought, sold, raped or even killed at will. This idea that ancient slavery was more gentile than the 18th century planter variety is bullshit.
Posted by Westside forever on May 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
@13, it shows on the desktop version of the site, just not the mobile. Jesus must not like us reading Slog mobile.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Matthew 5:17 ""Don't think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill."

But both the old and new book are bullshit, so it doesn't really matter.
Posted by BlagHag on May 1, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Iris Vander Pluym 17
For your detractors arguing this New Testament vs. Old Testament nonsense as if it's some get out of jail free card, cite Matthew 5:18-19:

Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

The "law" is the law of Moses, i.e., the Old Testament. Choke on that, haters.
Posted by Iris Vander Pluym on May 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Mike 16
Slavery in the Roman Empire varied widely in awfulness. Slaves who worked the mines had a genuinely awful existence. At the other end, the household slaves who had what we'd call white collar jobs had it "pretty good" - they could own property, were well treated and well fed, were in demand, and emancipation was often built into their arrangement - I suspect this is what Josh is referring to when he suggests that Paul is only talking about the slaves who were attending the ancient equivalent of ITT.

But make no mistake, these people were slaves. Eventual liberty is not the same as liberty. It's still not acceptable to our modern eyes. And that is, after all, the point: our modern ideas of how to live and live well don't jive with this book of fables and laws written by a bunch of desert nomads 4000 years ago, and the addenda tacked on by a bunch of schismatics 2000 years ago. Saying that Paul's choice to write about a particular sliver of slavery means he would've agreed with us about slavery is missing the point: even if you're right about the scope of his advice (and I don't know if you are or not), that means that he chose only to comment on the least awful form of slavery around, while remaining chillingly silent on all the other heinous forms around. Paul was a Roman. Romans did some amazing things, but I wouldn't want them running our country, and I wouldn't want their ideas about slavery or sexuality or social standing or military force determining policy.
Posted by Mike on May 1, 2012 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Jesus needs to recruit better debaters.
Posted by Chris Maltby on May 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
@5 - My guess: he doesn't truly believe and he's jealous of all the fun everyone else is having. He's not too content in his life of self-denial. It's really hard to hold a belief that's so bizarre and intangible in relation to the modern world and he's pissed that so few others are as self-flagellating as himself.

Combine that with the possibility that he doesn't believe it 100%--he's regularly having troublesome doubts--and you have the formula for some serious anger issues.
Posted by Lumpmoose on May 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
The tweet is blank. . .
Posted by Chicago Fan on May 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Hernandez 12
@4 Great point as well, Vince! Jesus invoked the Law (read: the Old Testament) early and often in the four gospels of the New Testament. He obviously respected the Law, followed the Law, and knew it front to back. These arguments are spurious from the theological perspective.
Posted by Hernandez on May 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
I love how telling a person that they will suffer agonizing torture for all eternity, and that this is proof that there is a just and loving God, is just a reasonable expression of sincere religious beliefs, but responding to that same person by telling them that their beliefs are a mean-spirited and transparently manipulative fairy-tale is "persecution."

"You're interfering with my right to threaten and intimidate you into doing what I say!"
Posted by Proteus on May 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 10
C'mon, Dan. If we can't count on a 4000-year-old desert nomad's account of his conversation with his imaginary friend as the ultimate moral authority, what can we count on?
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on May 1, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Paul was the worst thing to happen to Jesus. I've never understood why Christians miss the boat on the whole golden rule part, and Jesus coming to replace law and rules with love and compassion, only to go nearly full circle with Paul. Pro tip, Christians: listen to Jesus, not the ancient Jewish fairy tales at the start of the book or the silly suggestions of a micromanagerial douchebag after Jesus left.
Posted by Subdued Excitement on May 1, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Hernandez 8
You've got them in a bind now, and they're scrambling to contort their theology to refute your point.

In doing so you've pointed out the inherent instability of organized Christianity: every believer, EVERY believer, picks and chooses what they believe, what they follow, and what influences their behavior, from a large menu of possible configurations in the Bible. Smart Christians, like Kim in Portland or John Shore, understand this, accept it and move on with their lives. Others, like your detractors, struggle with it at every turn.
Posted by Hernandez on May 1, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
balderdash 7
That first letter just reeks of mental illness. Not for the subject matter, so much, just the tone and certain textual patterns that you can't help but recognize after you've encountered several Timecubes' worth of crazy on the internets.

Also, I cannot help but hear "Peggy's" letter in Peggy Hill's voice, which makes it a hundred times better.
Posted by balderdash on May 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Yikes, I don't envy you right now. These are going to be some deep shit filled weeks. Good luck.
Posted by shotsix on May 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Allyn 5
If you’re going to hell, if all of us sinners are going to hell, and we are all okay with that, why is this guy (email#1) so angry? Does he have to serve the same hell-sentence as we do (like when my kids fight over a toy they all lose the toy)? Is he guilty by association? If the punishment for my sin is that we all have to go to time-out in the lake (??) of fire, then sure, I can see his anger. But according to him, he gets to go to heaven and enjoy his virgins or whatever while the rest of us burn or whatever.

So why is he so upset? Seems like he’d rather we all are left out of the fun of heaven – more goodies for him, right? He’ll get the merry-go-round all to himself.
Posted by Allyn on May 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Vince 4
Oh, BTW, Jesus was a Jew so he only believed in the old testament. So you believe something Jesus had no belief in. Wonder what he would have said about that???
Posted by Vince on May 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
"Even believers who do not turn away from their sins (like your vile sin of disgusting, unnatural sodomy, wherein you live like a filthy dog), will go to Hell 1000 years, before they enjoy eternity with God. But for unbelievers (like yourself), you will pay for your sins in Hell 1000 years, and then depart into your eternal destination, the lake of fire—but before this, you will likely also begin to reap and feel the effects of your wickedness even in this life. "

Is there a table somewhere that converts each sin into numbers of hell-years that I'm unaware of? And what's the difference between "Hell" and the "lake of fire". Is there lakefront property in Hell?
Posted by Lumpmoose on May 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 2
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this hypocrisy is the idea that the bible is the unadultrated and perfect word of god...well except for that first half.

I guess god was just coming into his own then, experimenting with a lot of weird politics before settling in. Philosophical impossiblities be damned.

Looks like this Old v. New thing is going to be this month's "monogamish" debate.

Keep raising hell Dan.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 1, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Vince 1
Except there is no hell. That's the big fairy tale. It's used to scare. But we don't scare. So the bullies and their fake hell can suck it.
Posted by Vince on May 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this

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