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Source: (consider it) Thread: Homosexuality and Christianity
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Can I join in? [Razz]

I didn't say it was ALL down to disgust.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
musician

Ship's grin without a cat
# 4873

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I've only dicovered this thread. What a lot of fuss over what's nobody's business except those involved.
That's "sex" whether it's homo- or hetero-

We can't have God getting all the credit for what's acceptable to some folk, and then the people involved in what those folk don't like getting the blame for it, with those folk having the brass neck to insist that they are interpreting god's views. Arrogant or what???

Didn't god create all?? So he created the bits we don't like as well as the bits we do like.


Faithful Sheepdog,

quote:
In Lev chapters 18-20 there is a concern for women’s rights, especially during menstruation,
I can't tell you how much I like a male patriarchal society from long ago decreeing that I'm "unclean" and need purified before I can be safely touched. [Mad]
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ken
Ship's Roundhead
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
You said:
quote:
It's not disgust with homosexuality that makes some people hate it, it is attraction to it,
I thought your words were quite plain.
That was after the sentence:

quote:

That would lead me to also suspect that the other stereotype about the strength of homophobia (I agree with you that it is an unfortunate word - "fear of sameness") is more likely to be true, or likely to be true more often

i.e. I was comparing two stereotypes of homophobia and suggesting that IF my experience is generalisable the second one is more likely to be true in more cases than Father Gregory's one. That's not the same thing at all.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
That's not the same thing at all.

I am sorry for misunderstanding you.

[Not that I understand now even after the explanation, but it is early, and I have a headache.]

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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I am going to be honest. These discussions go nowhere.

At the end of the day most of what has been discussed relates to the ins and outs of the meaning of this text or that text. Delving into the details what specific words mean, studying how a particular passage in one book fits into a particular model of human behaviour outlined in another book. In this debate “scripture” is the focus. The assumption being that the literal answers to all these questions can be found through a correct reading of scripture. Put simply – its all a nice jolly exercise for academics BUT it seems to be going nowhere fast as far as people in the real world are concerned.

When the chips are down you either have one of two conclusions coming out of this:

1) The Christian God believes homosexuality is inherently sinful & homosexuals must repent of their lifestyles and refrain from gay sex if they are to be “saved”.

or…

2) The Christian God accepts homosexuality as inherently a good thing and the Church should sanction gay marriage in order to encourage gay and lesbian Christians to enter rewarding long term homosexual relationships.

Those are the two end points. It is a question as to which of these we end up at and what the implications are of ending up there. The in between/compromise area between the two is nothing more nor less than a limbo. It is a limbo because such a position basically means that gay & lesbian people cannot find any answers to some very key questions in their own moral lives from the Church. You must therefore look elsewhere for answers and that means NOT Christianity.

Let us therefore suppose for now that we assume that the conservative Evangelical conclusion is correct and that gay and lesbian people should seek repentance and attempt to refrain from the “sin” of gay sex. By implication this would probably imply such people seeking help from an Ex-Gay Ministry in search of healing and/or transformation.

So, lets have a look at these Ministries and see what exactly the implications of this approach are in real life.

--------------------
but there is no water...

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The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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The only long term study of “ex-gay” success that has ever been done was done by two New York psychologists, Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder. Their study involved ongoing personal interviews over a period of 5 years (as opposed to a single phone interview conducted by other researchers). In the end, they found that 88% of the people had no change in their orientation, 9% reported being asexual or conflicted (and primarily celibate) and 3% reported being able to function as heterosexuals.

There is some speculation that the 3% were bisexuals, already, as this wasn’t verified. No physical tests were done to prove that such change was actually accomplished, as this was all self-reporting.

Shidlo and Scroeder noted that a large number of their interviewees reported emotional trauma or damage as a result of the programs.

I think it’s important to remember that most gay people do not enter reparative therapy and the ones that do and are really committed to it, as were the people in this study, are the most motivated to change, and often desperate to do so. And, still, only 3% of these highly motivated people actually achieved any heterosexual functioning.

The conclusion we can draw from this straight away is that, even when highly committed, only 3% (a tiny minority) of gay and lesbian people can successfully live their lives in the manner in which the Evangelicals demand.

This therefore means:

1) The vast majority of gays and lesbians cannot possibly live their lives in the way in which the Evangelicals demand.

2) Christianity is therefore a religion that would appear to be reserved for a small elite. Most ordinary gay and lesbian people can’t conform to its highly exacting demands. There are too many hurdles and barriers that prevent people from ever reaching any kind of peaceful equilibrium with this religion – it just is not in any way an easy religion to be part of – it is extremely hard and success is simply beyond most people.

3) We therefore have a very narrow religion and not a broad religion. Only the elite can really achieve the elusive prize of salvation. Most ordinary people can’t meet these difficult standards, they can’t jump over all these hurdles and barriers that the Evangelicals say they need to.

4) The vast majority of ordinary gay and lesbian people are therefore damned and there’s virtually nothing they can ever do about it.

--------------------
but there is no water...

Posts: 27 | From: The wilderness | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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But, so what, these are all just statistics and numbers really. Do statistics and numbers, whatever they may or may not be, really matter? “Stats” and “numbers” – “theology” and “scripture” – you don’t see any human beings in any of these words. Where’s the human dimension to all this?

I have spent quite a bit of time researching what happens to gay people within Christianity. In particular, what happens to those who try to seek “healing” or “transformation” or whatever you want to call it. What actually happens to the real life gays and lesbians that attempt to live a life according to the conservative Evangelical recipe? What happens to the real people?

In the UK we have organisations like the True Freedom Trust that offer ministry to gay and lesbian people in order to help them live “according to God’s plan”. I have read through their testimonies and NOT ONE – NOT ONE speaks of someone being transformed from homosexual to heterosexual. And these are the success stories?!

More typical of the experiences of the people who seek “healing” from these ministries is found in a sample of quotes from their own testimonies below…

quote:
“Over the years I’ve continued to struggle with emotional attractions and attachments to other men that have torn away at my insides and eroded my confidence in myself and in God. I continue to struggle from time to time with thoughts that my wife and sons would be better off if they didn’t have to deal with such a moody husband and father – especially his recurring bouts of almost suicidal depression.”
This one is from the FOUNDER of the organisation himself:

quote:
"I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE!" This had been the cry of my heart for as long as I could remember. When sexual frustration started to enter my life again, there were times when I longed to be hugged - to be held and to hold another person.”
This one from a lesbian “success story”:

quote:
“I found that my attachment to women was as strong as ever. I asked God to keep me from sinning… As I learn to lay down my life in order to find it, so God is able to heal because I have let go. The desire of my life is gradually becoming to obey God rather than fulfilling Sally.”
So “happiness” lies in absolute self-denial of all feelings of sexual love and the pursuit of a life of celibacy?

And another lesbian success, suggests more of the same:

quote:
“I do not believe being a practising lesbian is in accordance with His word and it is up to me not to feed that appetite. I don’t know whether I will ever lose my desire for other women…”
And here is another happy tale from the testimonies:

quote:
“And for the future? I wouldn't begin to compare the anguish of this life to what is ahead; there really is no comparison. There is a day coming when the aching will be gone and I will finally rest in God. Then it will be over…”

Sounds more like a recipe for suicide that a recipe for salvation.

If the conservative Evangelicals are to be believed then, gay people can only enter the kingdom of heaven if they are will to suffer a life time of struggle, heartache and loneliness. They can only ever be good enough if they are willing to shun all sexual love and regiment their lives around a celibate ascetic. They must quell and suppress all feelings of sexual desire and sexual warmth, not just for a while but for always.

The testimonies of these people speak for themselves. They speak of “struggle”, “suicidal depression”, “sexual frustration”, “lay down my life”, “anguish” and “aching”. Their own words – their own testimonies – not mine.

Is this REALLY part of “God’s plan”? If so, what kind of god are we actually dealing with?

The vast majority of ordinary gay and lesbian people – millions of people – probably would never even dream to try such “healing” (if that is what you call it). And it is plain that even those who do live their lives with deep unhappiness – 97% of them appear to fail in the end. This religion appears an elusive and unobtainable thing, too many hurdles, too many barriers, surely it is beyond the grasp of mortal men and women.

--------------------
but there is no water...

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
...When the chips are down you either have one of two conclusions coming out of this:

1) The Christian God believes homosexuality is inherently sinful & homosexuals must repent of their lifestyles and refrain from gay sex if they are to be “saved”.

or…

2) The Christian God accepts homosexuality as inherently a good thing and the Church should sanction gay marriage in order to encourage gay and lesbian Christians to enter rewarding long term homosexual relationships.

Wrong. Point 1) should not have the phrase "if they are to be saved" on the end. Then it is OK.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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At one time an Evangelical organisation called Courage offered an Ex-Gay Ministry to gay and lesbian Evangelicals. People may or may not be aware that this organisation, after claiming for years that people could be “healed” and “transformed” have been forced to change their tune. The people working there obviously became sick as tired of all the struggling, the anguish and the aching. They came to accept that such suffering and misery cannot be good – a simple an obvious truth. They came to accept that the work of the Ex-Gay Ministries are ultimately misguided and achieve nothing but inflict suffering on those who seek healing from them.

Courage, on their own website explain the nature of the change of heart it is well worth reading as it shows how people who were absolutely committed to a conservative Evangelical theology came to understand the Ex-Gay Ministries were wrong:

http://www.courage.org.uk/articles/change.shtml

One part of their testimony is especially worth relating:

quote:
“After ten years, however, six spent running residential discipleship courses, followed by years of weekly group meetings, it was increasingly clear that however repentant people were, and however much dedication and effort they put into seeking change, none were really ‘successful’ in the long term in ‘dealing with the deeper issues’. This is not to say that people gained no benefit! Many matured greatly. A few married (though their same-sex attractions remain an ongoing issue for them). But the kind of change everyone really hoped for—to re-orientate and reach a point where their struggle with being gay was over—remained elusive. We never saw the fruit we longed for.”
It is clear that these healing ministries aren’t working. People may desperately want them to work BUT they don’t. Where do people go then? What should they do they? What dead-end street are we staring down?

--------------------
but there is no water...

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The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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I know there are some Ex-Gay Ministries (mostly in America) that claim complete successes – i.e. someone who is gay is healed and becomes happily and completely heterosexual. Unfortunately, these wonderful “success” stories mask some extremely nasty stories. Some of these testimonies are, without question, downright lies. Perhaps all of them are.

The truth behind this websites is easily available for those who wish to look. This story is from someone who has sent several years involved with these ministries, it reveals the truth behind a lot of the glowing success stories on these websites:

quote:
“I know you can go to the websites and read the testimonials. They sound good. I believed them. Sometimes I still go to the websites. When I read the testimonial from my mentor that killed himself; it always upsets me. I wrote to them and told them they should take it down out of respect for him. First time they told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that the man has perfectly healthy and happy. I wrote back and included personal information about him. This time I was told they had his family’s permission to use his testimony and I could be sued for slander if I said anything about him publicly.

I know two other men who have testimonials on the websites. One is bisexual and his is mostly true. He cheats on his wife sometimes with men, but mostly he’s happy. He only cheats on her when he gets mad at her, so it’s more of an anger thing, I think. He knows it makes her angrier when it’s with men. The other guy’s testimonial is how he wants his life to be, not how it is. His counselor encouraged him to write it to help him reach his goal. It hasn’t worked that way for him, unfortunately.”

Not only then do these Ex-Gay Ministries lie, they also pressurise those people who leave and threaten them with legal action in order to prevent the truth from getting out. People are also clearly being encouraged to write false testimonies that bare no relation to their real situation. Let’s face it, what we are dealing with here is an appalling scandal.

--------------------
but there is no water...

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
...
2) Christianity is therefore a religion that would appear to be reserved for a small elite. ...

So, you are saying that straight people are a "small elite". Wrong.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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The Wasteland
Apprentice
# 4700

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So where does all that leave us?

IF we accept that homosexuality is a sin then we must also accept that that means that the vast majority of gays and lesbians – millions of good people – can never be Christians. Can’t make the exacting and elitist standards set for them. Can’t ever find any answers in Christianity.

SO if it is the case that the correct reading of God’s will is indeed that homosexuality is sinful we are, in fact, looking at a theology that simply falls flat on its face and offers no answers of any meaningful kind to millions of ordinary men and women.

I guess, it you happen to be a member of the privileged heterosexual majority then all this is easy and you don’t need to worry about it. What does it matter if millions of people are going to burn in hell for all eternity and there is absolutely nothing they can do to change that?

Makes you wonder why all these people were created in the first place? Is god some kind of sadist? Does he WANT people to live lives of anguish and suffering? Is that his plan? What kind of god is that?

No, the only conclusion is a simple one. IF the following statement is true:

“The Christian God believes homosexuality is inherently sinful & homosexuals must repent of their lifestyles and refrain from gay sex if they are to be “saved”.”

Then the Christian god is made-up, he must be.

Actually I believe that that statement is an accurate reflection of what the Bible says at the end of the day. That is why I am no longer a Christian. That is why I am an atheist.

The Evangelicals claim that the onus lies on LGBT people to make their case – i.e. to prove that scripture says homosexuality is OK. Trouble is (and it’s a huge flaw) most LGBT people, like me, DON’T believe that scripture is anything other than homophobic nonsense. The onus is NOT on us at all. We simply don’t believe it. The onus lies with the Christians surely – they are the ones that need to convince us that their religion is true. To do that they need to come to us and tell us that homosexuality is OK and they need to explain how scripture proves this to be so and why they have got it so badly wrong for centuries. Unless and until they are able to do that it is pointless even contemplating Christianity as even remotely likely to be true.

From our perspective, the events of the last two years have finally convinced most of us that Christianity has nothing to offer. Christianity is a barren wasteland. It is entirely without water. All it offers is callous suffering and anguish and the only way its acolytes can deal with this is to ignore the human dimension and to bury themselves in long, dry, academic debates about scripture and theology.

I know thats a lot of posts - but its what I believe & its where I feel we are.

--------------------
but there is no water...

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Big Steve

Ship's Navigator
# 3274

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Wasteland - you have displayed a considerable mis-understanding of the evangelical church. Here's my take on it :

quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
1) The vast majority of gays and lesbians cannot possibly live their lives in the way in which the Evangelicals demand.

True, assuming gays and lesbians are practising homosexuals.

quote:
2) Christianity is therefore a religion that would appear to be reserved for a small elite. Most ordinary gay and lesbian people can’t conform to its highly exacting demands.
There are too many hurdles and barriers that prevent people from ever reaching any kind of peaceful equilibrium with this religion – it just is not in any way an easy religion to be part of – it is extremely hard and success is simply beyond most people.

No - I know many people who are thriving as evangelicals and they benefit from being part of the evangelical church. However, gays with libidos will struggle to remain within the boundaries the evangelical church preaches. They might last a year. They may last a few years. But a life-time alone? Gay evangelicals either have accepted their sexuality and live celebate lives or else they beat themselves around the head hoping to change.
quote:
3) We therefore have a very narrow religion and not a broad religion. Only the elite can really achieve the elusive prize of salvation. Most ordinary people can’t meet these difficult standards, they can’t jump over all these hurdles and barriers that the Evangelicals say they need to.
In the evangelical church, salvation never depends on obeying rules, but on God's grace. The rules are there to be obeyed, but that is not a salvation issue, rather it is a moral issue while living on this earth.
quote:
4) The vast majority of ordinary gay and lesbian people are therefore damned and there’s virtually nothing they can ever do about it.
No, that's not true. Their lifestyle is damned if they are practising homosexuals. However, evangelicals believe in heaven and all sins on this earth can be forgiven. Straight evangelicals are as aware of their own sin as much as gay evangelicals. If what you say is true than all evangelicals, gay or straight, are damned because evangelicals are as a rule sinners who have repented. What you said is inaccurate and shows a simplistic understanding of what evangelicals actually believe.

--------------------
http://www.youtube.com/stephenhillmusic

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
...The Evangelicals claim that the onus lies on LGBT people to make their case – i.e. to prove that scripture says homosexuality is OK. Trouble is (and it’s a huge flaw) most LGBT people, like me, DON’T believe that scripture is anything other than homophobic nonsense. The onus is NOT on us at all. We simply don’t believe it. The onus lies with the Christians surely – they are the ones that need to convince us that their religion is true. To do that they need to come to us and tell us that homosexuality is OK and they need to explain how scripture proves this to be so and why they have got it so badly wrong for centuries.

Your argument is circular here. You say you don't believe scripture, yet you want us to show you how scripture supports your position. Don't hold your breath.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
I know thats a lot of posts - but its what I believe & its where I feel we are.

We get the picture - 17 posts and everyone of them on homosexuality threads. Some of us have opinions on other issues, too. Do you?

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Belle
Shipmate
# 4792

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Wasteland - you must 'know' Ranchhand? My own feeling is that the Bible is a representation of what people have believed that the 'Christian' God thinks or believes and how they have spiritually interpreted their history over the years. I believe that 'God' is not capable of being fully defined by humans (however inspired) and that to regard the Bible as being the final 'word' on the 'mind' of God is reductive. I believe that God does exist, and it is a relationship with God that is at the core of a true believer's faith, not an intellectual relationship with a book. The relationship can be informed by and nourished by the Bible, but never completely defined by it.

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where am I going... and why am I in this handbasket?

Posts: 318 | From: Kent, UK | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
I believe that God does exist, and it is a relationship with God that is at the core of a true believer's faith, not an intellectual relationship with a book. The relationship can be informed by and nourished by the Bible, but never completely defined by it.

I've never met anybody who would say it could be.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
I am going to be honest. These discussions go nowhere.

We know that. That's why we put them in "Dead Horses"

quote:

When the chips are down you either have one of two conclusions coming out of this:

1) The Christian God believes homosexuality is inherently sinful & homosexuals must repent of their lifestyles and refrain from gay sex if they are to be ?saved?.

or?

2) The Christian God accepts homosexuality as inherently a good thing and the Church should sanction gay marriage in order to encourage gay and lesbian Christians to enter rewarding long term homosexual relationships.

Nonsense. There are loads of other possible postions. Christians have quite consistently believed all sorts of other things:

  • God doesn't care whether you are gay or not, and it makes no difference to anything.
  • homosexuality is a punishment for people who are already damned
  • everyone goes to heaven, gay or straight.
  • God actually approves of homosexuality and gays are specially blessed
  • There is no such thing as "homosexuality", The word descibes a large number of different behaviours, some acceptable to God, some not.
  • homosexuality is an addiction or disease - to be regretted, but no more a cause of damnation than a broken leg or alcoholism
  • homosexuality is an undesirable lifestyle choice, but not a mortal sin. Like drinking too much, or using pornography, or gambling - even if it is not good for you as long as you don't harm others by it is is not a damnable sin
  • homosexuality is a neutral lifestyle choice and irrelevant to morality
  • homosexuality is not a choice at all, its something you either have or you haven't, something you are or you aren't, so it is of no moral import at all.
  • Gays have a special blessing to bring to the church and the rest of the church will be judged on how it treats gays

Some of those may be rubbish ideas. They certainly can't all be true and maybe none are. But at least some Christians have believed them at some times and they aren't internally inconsistent.

quote:

The in between/compromise area between the two is nothing more nor less than a limbo. It is a limbo because such a position basically means that gay & lesbian people cannot find any answers to some very key questions in their own moral lives from the Church. You must therefore look elsewhere for answers and that means NOT Christianity.

That only makes sense if you assume that the answers are what you want to find, and that you aren't in the wrong.

quote:

Let us therefore suppose for now that we assume that the conservative Evangelical conclusion is correct and that gay and lesbian people should seek repentance and attempt to refrain from the ?sin? of gay sex. By implication this would probably imply such people seeking help from an Ex-Gay Ministry in search of healing and/or transformation.

Nope. It might imply celibacy, as much of the Church has always required from not only priests but also divorced people. Forget about Evangelicals - to a Roman Catholic priest neither you nor me are allowed to have sex. But they wouldn't claim that I would be "healed" of wanting sex, any more than they would claim that celibate priests are.

In the same way they'd demand that men who never marry - maybe 5-10% of the population in various countries - remain celibate. So from their POV you aren't being given a special burden, just one that millions of straight men have as well.

Of course I agree with you about how much crap the most of the straighten-a-gay-for-Jesus "ministries" are.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Belle
Shipmate
# 4792

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A person has a choice whether or not to become a priest. At least a straight person has the hope of some day meeting a partner. A gay man (or woman) must live without hope of fulfilling that part of their being.

Does the movement of at least some parts of the church on divorced people indicate that depriving them of the hope of marrying again was too great a burden to impose?

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where am I going... and why am I in this handbasket?

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Cartwheel
Apprentice
# 5149

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Also, if I, as a single woman with boyfriend, sleep with that boyfriend, noone in the church knows and if I turn up with boyfriend at church, people assume that I'm not Going All The Way, as they say...

Obviously if I did AND got myself pregnant there would be A Scandal, but the church's teaching and how it is enforced in practise are very different...in this age of birth control, I'm not sure the gay/single straight situations are at all comparable in an evangelical situation

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Belle
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# 4792

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Indeed, and (especially if your apparently unconsummated relationship looked like it was going to become permanent - ie marriage) you would most likely be regarded with indulgence and encouragement.

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where am I going... and why am I in this handbasket?

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The Wasteland
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Big Steve

quote:
“Gay evangelicals either have accepted their sexuality and live celibate lives or else they beat themselves around the head hoping to change.”
But as I have shown these are not realistic options for the vast majority of gays and lesbians. The vast majority will need to live their lives as practising homosexuals in order to be happy. That being the case it is hard to see how that can be accommodated at all within the Evangelical model in a positive manner. That suggests an inherent incompatibility and hence an inherent barrier.

quote:
“If what you say is true than all evangelicals, gay or straight, are damned because evangelicals are as a rule sinners who have repented.”
BUT if you are gay or lesbian then, realistically, 90%+ of people in that situation simply would not believe that homosexuality is sinful at all. Therefore they would not see that they had anything to repent of. If you back them into a corner and force them to either say “I repent” or to say “well in that case I just don’t believe it” then the vast majority will go for the latter option. Asking people to repent of something that they cannot accept as sinful without doing themselves serious psychological harm is a serious flaw in this particular religion. It suggests to me that the ethical system is man-made rather than god given.

Sharkshooter

quote:
“You say you don't believe scripture, yet you want us to show you how scripture supports your position. Don't hold your breath.”
Not quite. I am saying that if Scripture says “homosexuality is a sin” and that in order to be a Christian you have to accept that then I certainly don’t believing it. So the onus lies with Christians to show me that Christianity does NOT teach that homosexuality is a sin. Otherwise I can’t really see that Christianity is credible. By and large I think most LGBT people are abandoning Christianity entirely now – it really isn’t credible & the inability of Christianity to accept homosexual people proves it. If you are looking for people to come flocking to Christianity rather than Wicca I would suggest - don't hold your breath.

quote:
“We get the picture - 17 posts and everyone of them on homosexuality threads. Some of us have opinions on other issues, too. Do you?”
That’s rich coming from someone who subscribes to a religion which, for reasons best known to itself, has spent the last 1-2 years talking about homosexuality virtually exclusively. A religion that sees fit to call an emergency global meeting on this one subject alone. No global emergency meetings on the subject of global famine I see, nor on third world poverty, nor AIDS in Africa. Just shows where the true priorities of modern Christianity lies doesn’t it.

Pots and kettles my friend.


Ken

quote:
“they'd demand that men who never marry - maybe 5-10% of the population in various countries - remain celibate. So from their POV you aren't being given a special burden, just one that millions of straight men have as well.”
That is double standards then. 5%-10% of heterosexual men don’t marry & choose to remain celibate do they? I doubt it. They may not marry but I bet you most of them are shagging around like rabbits. Granted a handful of hetties remain celibate – but what proportion is that – 0.5% more like. Celibacy is OK for some but its not really a realistic option of the majority is it. Every time in history that celibacy has been a big thing you’ve never been able to convince any more than a small minority to remain celibate. And many who try to remain celibate usually fail now and again due to the very nature of being human – so are they celibate OR are they, if we are absolutely honest, promiscuous?

So celibacy is hardly an even remotely realistic goal for the vast majority of gay men or lesbians. The only happily celibate gay man I’ve ever known was a Roman Catholic Priest and he didn’t even believe that homosexuality was a sin at all, so his reasons for being celibate had nothing to do with his sexuality.

Besides, take a look at those True Freedom Trust testimonies I posted up yesterday. Those people are attempting to live celibate lives but nevertheless their testimonies come across as being deeply unhappy people in most cases. They speak quite openly of loneliness, aching and suffering. The struggle to remain celibate for most of them is a constant struggle – a lifetime of struggle. Several of them clearly believe that they can’t be happy in this mortal life and that they must wait until they die before they truly know peace. I can’t see how such a life is what a loving god would want for human beings. Maybe if that god was a sadist I could then appreciate why he might want people to live that way, but otherwise I just can’t see it.

I am sure that most of the best people I know who are either gay or lesbian want to take a pride in their sexuality, not view it as “disordered” or “sinful”. How on earth could anyone maintain a long-term relationship with a sexual partner if they actually believe that their relationship is somehow grubby or dirty? I can’t see it. How many heterosexual marriages would survive if one or both husband or wife actually felt that their marriage was inherently “sinful”? Surely it is a recipe for disaster. By trying to position sex as sin it does no more nor less than encourage people to view sexual acts as grubby and dirty. It encourages them to view sex as specific incidents – lapses as it were – rather than a loving act that forms part of a long-term relationship. Doesn’t this demonstrate that Christian sexual ethics are effectively very repressed and unhealthy?

People say its not a “salvation” issue – but is it? If people do not believe that their sexuality is sinful at all and, hence, don’t feel the need to repent of it…what then? Also many will regard a teaching to the effect that their own natural sexuality is inherently sinful as a symptom of an unpleasant philosophy which they don’t want to have anything to do with (more likely). Thus tens of thousands of people will turn their back on the whole philosophy because of its lack of credibility and because they believe that it teaches evil. How does salvation work then? Will these people still get saved? Or will they be scooped off into the fiery pits of hell? And, if they are to be damned, what does this tell us about the nature of the god? Sounds more like a demon to me.

I have only posted on issues relating to homosexuality because this issue serves as a huge stumbling block for many hundreds of thousands of people. It is also an issue that seriously undermines the whole credibility of the religion, it screams out - “these are man made ethics” originating in a primitive ancient society. Surely no basis for looking ahead to the future.

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but there is no water...

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Big Steve

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
Big Steve
quote:
“If what you say is true than all evangelicals, gay or straight, are damned because evangelicals are as a rule sinners who have repented.”
BUT if you are gay or lesbian then, realistically, 90%+ of people in that situation simply would not believe that homosexuality is sinful at all.

What's with the marathon posts?

Anyway, yes, I see your point about gay and lesbian people not seeing their sexuality as sinful. My point, however, was more that all people sin all the time, even the "best" evangelical. What annoyed me about your post seems to be your idea that evangelicals cannot have their sins forgiven and have to live perfect lives. What you and what a stereotypical evangelical call sin may vary quite a lot - but the principle remains that sin (whatever that is) can be and will be forgiven. The evangelical church may condemn homosexual lifestyles but they would never, ever damn the people to hell. This may seem irrelevant if "damning" is a throwback to the dark ages, but if a person believes in heaven and hell as real places then it becomes very important. You may not agree with the evangelical church, but please make an effort to understand it. The evangelical church does not damn people eternally for having sexual orientations.

However, the evangelical church may well make people feel so unaccepted and rejected that they may well feel damned. That's a different question. For me, I don't see how the evangelical church can embrace gay people while the evo church has a strong anti-gay lifestyle position. As you rightly say the evangelical church asks for more than many people of vitality can give.

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http://www.youtube.com/stephenhillmusic

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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
# 3523

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The Wasteland
quote:
Ken


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“they'd demand that men who never marry - maybe 5-10% of the population in various countries - remain celibate. So from their POV you aren't being given a special burden, just one that millions of straight men have as well.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That is double standards then. 5%-10% of heterosexual men don’t marry & choose to remain celibate do they? I doubt it. They may not marry but I bet you most of them are shagging around like rabbits. Granted a handful of hetties remain celibate – but what proportion is that – 0.5% more like. Celibacy is OK for some but its not really a realistic option of the majority is it. Every time in history that celibacy has been a big thing you’ve never been able to convince any more than a small minority to remain celibate. And many who try to remain celibate usually fail now and again due to the very nature of being human – so are they celibate OR are they, if we are absolutely honest, promiscuous?

You seem to have (deliberately?) misunderstood what Ken was saying. His 5-10% was an estimate of the men who don't marry in a community. He didn't say that this 5-10% remained celibate, but that this was what the church's teaching demanded of them, in exactly the same way that they make the same demands of homosexuals. He was just trying to illustrate that the problem was not just for gays, but was shared by single heterosexuals as well.

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Fancy a break beside the sea in Suffolk? Visit my website

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Eripeme
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# 4584

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I am currently editing a book telling the stories of people who experience or have experienced homosexual desires or lifestyles but are currently living or attempting to live by the traditional teaching of the church (ie. not acting on those desires).

I would be very grateful if any readers or posters on this thread who fall into that category would be willing to discuss their stories with me. (Obviously nothing will be published without specific prior approval.) Please feel free to contact me privately here or by email (eripeme1@yahoo.co.uk).

I suppose I should add that I myself do fall into this category, and a lot of my interest comes from finding out how many other people there are in it! I also think that more general knowledge of some of these stories would be a useful contribution to 'the debate' people in the Anglican Communion are always calling for. (But please note, I am not asking for Anglicans only!)

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watchergirl
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# 5071

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
By and large I think most LGBT people are abandoning Christianity entirely now – it really isn’t credible & the inability of Christianity to accept homosexual people proves it. If you are looking for people to come flocking to Christianity rather than Wicca I would suggest - don't hold your breath.

I, and several hundred members of LGCM, would disagree with that. There are some gay Christians out there.

quote:
Just shows where the true priorities of modern Christianity lies doesn’t it.
Now there I agree with you.

quote:
Celibacy is OK for some but its not really a realistic option of the majority is it.
I tend to agree. Even St Paul didn't expect it of everyone.

Eripeme: Good luck with your book, and with your choices.

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Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracious rebel:

You seem to have (deliberately?) misunderstood what Ken was saying. His 5-10% was an estimate of the men who don't marry in a community. He didn't say that this 5-10% remained celibate, but that this was what the church's teaching demanded of them, in exactly the same way that they make the same demands of homosexuals. He was just trying to illustrate that the problem was not just for gays, but was shared by single heterosexuals as well.

Yes, exactly. And in the case of divorced ones, with no let-out from their situation in the traditional teachings of about half the churches.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Cartwheel
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# 5149

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But are there churches where someone who had remarried after divorce would automatically not be considered for any leading or teaching role irrespective of their other gifts?

Come to that, are there churches out there where someone who said that they were divorced and wouldn't think it was sinful if they DID remarry (though they hadn't met a partner yet) would automatically be barred from such a role, irrespective of their other gifts?

Are there churches out there where people feel able to stand in the pulpit and condemn the very idea of divorced people remarrying in the strongest terms? That condemns a secular society that lets this happen and runs public campaigns to challenge any law that may give remarried people equal rights with first time married couples? That prays for the success of these campaigns in the public intercessions?

Because this is what you're claiming if you're saying the two situations are equivalent. I know it's not true in many (perhaps most) churches, but...

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Eripeme
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# 4584

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quote:
Originally posted by Cartwheel:
But are there churches where ...?
Come to that, are there churches ...?
Are there churches ...?

The answer is definitely 'yes' to all those questions. But I suspect there are rather fewer of them in this case than in the case of the equivalent questions for homosexuality.
I think churches that behave in such a judgmental way on any issue -- telling people how they should live but giving no practical help or advice on how to achieve that state -- are not really worthy of the name.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Cartwheel:
But are there churches where someone who had remarried after divorce would automatically not be considered for any leading or teaching role irrespective of their other gifts?

Come to that, are there churches out there where someone who said that they were divorced and wouldn't think it was sinful if they DID remarry (though they hadn't met a partner yet) would automatically be barred from such a role, irrespective of their other gifts?

Are there churches out there where people feel able to stand in the pulpit and condemn the very idea of divorced people remarrying in the strongest terms? That condemns a secular society that lets this happen and runs public campaigns to challenge any law that may give remarried people equal rights with first time married couples? That prays for the success of these campaigns in the public intercessions?

Because this is what you're claiming if you're saying the two situations are equivalent. I know it's not true in many (perhaps most) churches, but...

Have you heard of a small sect known as the Roman Catholics?

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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musician

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Ken

would you like a loan of my tin helmet?? [Eek!]

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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Horsecrap! There is no political push to prevent divorced people from remarrying. Laws are not being made and constitutions are not being amended to prevent divorced people from remarrying.The point is valid.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
As you rightly say the evangelical church asks for more than many people of vitality can give.

What are "people of vitality"? Does that mean live people as opposed to dead people? Or what?

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
As you rightly say the evangelical church asks for more than many people of vitality can give.

What are "people of vitality"? Does that mean live people as opposed to dead people? Or what?
I thought it was a point of emphasis - as in, even energetic people have too much asked of them.

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Narcissism.

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Big Steve

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
As you rightly say the evangelical church asks for more than many people of vitality can give.

What are "people of vitality"? Does that mean live people as opposed to dead people? Or what?
Sorry, that was a bit obscure. In this context it describes someone who may want to be celibate, but finds it impossible due their inner drive which propels them into relationships.

Imagine someone like Tom Jones taking a vow of celebacy. Can you see him succeeding? No. Waaaaay too much vitality! It is possible for some people, straight or gay, to remain celebate for life. For others, it may not be so easy.

[ 27. November 2003, 13:31: Message edited by: Big Steve ]

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http://www.youtube.com/stephenhillmusic

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
There is no political push to prevent divorced people from remarrying. Laws are not being made and constitutions are not being amended to prevent divorced people from remarrying.

Maybe not in California. Try Ireland.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
Sorry, that was a bit obscure. In this context it describes someone who may want to be celibate, but finds it impossible due their inner drive which propels them into relationships.

Imagine someone like Tom Jones taking a vow of celebacy. Can you see him succeeding? No. Waaaaay too much vitality! It is possible for some people, straight or gay, to remain celebate for life. For others, it may not be so easy.

That doesn't follow at all. I've no idea how much Tom Jones likes or doesn't like sex, but I bet loads of "vital" people have been celibate, more or less successfully.

Or do you think Roman priests are either liars or losers?

Anyway, getting into a sexual relationship has little to do with how strong someone's inner drive for it is, what is needed is someone else to fancy them. (short of rape I suppose)

That's the real reason why so many straight men resent gays you know - they think they gays are always getting off with each other.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Big Steve

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# 3274

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Or do you think Roman priests are either liars or losers?

Where did this come from? Do you think I judge people on how many partners a person has?
Anyway, I see what you're implying, but no, I'm not falling for it. Is a vow of celebacy something priests take lightly? I would hope not - especially for priests with vitality.

quote:
Anyway, getting into a sexual relationship has little to do with how strong someone's inner drive for it is, what is needed is someone else to fancy them.
Are you implying that successfully celebate priests are unattractive?

quote:
That's the real reason why so many straight men resent gays you know - they think they gays are always getting off with each other.
Are you sure? I thought it was 'cos they dressed better?

[ 27. November 2003, 14:16: Message edited by: Big Steve ]

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http://www.youtube.com/stephenhillmusic

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mousethief

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# 953

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Ah, so by "vitality" you mean "randiness"/"horniness"? What an interesting new use for an old word!

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
There is no political push to prevent divorced people from remarrying. Laws are not being made and constitutions are not being amended to prevent divorced people from remarrying.

Maybe not in California. Try Ireland.
Apologies. Do you have a link to back this up, just out of curiousity? I believe you, but I find it baffling.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Cartwheel
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# 5149

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Ken

Yes, I have heard of the Roman Catholics (btw, I personally would not call them a "sect"), however I have never worshipped in a Catholic community unless you count "Churches Together" united services - sorry. For most of my adult life, I have worshipped in Evangelical C of E churches. As far as I know, the C of E "Issues" document allows gay partnerships for members of the laity, but you'd never guess this in a million years if you attended my current church. My questions (sorry not to make this clear) referred to local worshipping communities rather than central organisations because the gap between an official line and what happens at a local level can be very wide. And my experience of how a local church's teaching works in practise is that some beliefs are made central to participation in a Sunday service (e.g. at one church I attended someone felt able to make a public prayer that gay couples would be barred from adopting children) and some aren't (gays were the only group to be prayed about in this way).

As far as I can see the teaching of a (local) church consists not only of what is said, but also how this belief works out in the church's collective life. A belief that a church repeats regularly on Sunday mornings, passes PCC resolutions to reinforce, uses as a basis for church ordering etc is very different from one that is taught as the official church line, but which is largely left to individual conscience in practise, even if those beliefs look the same on paper. Or not?

An otherwise sane person at a previous church once assured me that remarriage after divorce is a "pastoral" issue and gay partnerships are a "scriptural authority" issue. Needless to say, he might have been applying the same teaching but he did it rather differently in the two cases...

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geelongboys
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# 4870

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well.....after reading all this amazing theological discourse....it still doesn't change the fact that when information travels through my optic nerve.....suggesting the depiction of a slim young man with a nice smile...and in athletic gear.....my amygdala becomes overloaded with fear and attraction...and is not able to cope with the information overload.

Are there any neuropsychiatrists in the house who can tell me what has been happening to my brain since I was 10 years old?

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Love the sinner, hate your own sin.

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multipara
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# 2918

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Yes, I can.

You are responding in the way that Almighty God saw fit to allow; just as I also responded to images of personable males until holy dreadlock, babies and the Big M decreed otherwise.

You don't need a neuropsychiatrist to tell you that. I promise you that the psychiatric establishment has now moved past the time when hom,osexuality was considered to be a mental disorder and aversion therapy was legit.

Life is too short to agonise.

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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The Wasteland
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# 4700

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I think it is crystal clear that modern society, especially in the western world, is coming to view homosexuality as what it is - a totally normal aspect of healthy human behaviour.

The inability of any given religion to deal with this fact represents a problem for the religion itself - not for anyone else.

The march of progress dictates that certain things that were deemed acceptible in the past are not considered acceptible now. For example, up until the eighteenth century we considered slavery to be a perfectly fine institution. Now slavery is considered abherant. Similiarly, many societies have historically been patriachal & taken a fairly sexist attitude towards women. Now that has changed.

The homosexuality issue is exactly the same. In times past homosexuality was considered "bad". But in future it will increasingly be seen as perfectly normal. Continuing to insist that it is "bad" when society as a whole is rapidly moving forward simply makes religion look bigotted and shackled by nasty fundamentalism.

Lets face facts - people who claim that homosexuality is "sinful" are regarded as "nasty people" by a very large proportion of people in the west today. This is the inevitable march of progress.

The ball is in the ball of the religions. Either change or face the inevitability of irrelevance and oblivion. The march of time is not going to wait for you guys. Thinking that Christianity has lasted 2000 years and therefore must always last is naive. People worshipped Ishtar for longer - nobody worships Ishtar today (except for maybe a few mad Californians). Christianity can dissappear entirely over this issue if you allow the lunatics to take over the asylum.

You'll need to stand up to the Donatistic Evangelicals or face a very sudden and quite possibly terminal decline in Christianity in the west.

I don't think you are going to get too many more chances.

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but there is no water...

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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"I believe in progess" ... now there's a credo bound to impress those of faith. [Ultra confused] If there is to be change on this issue .... and I for one say that there should ... it's going to have to be built on something a good deal less flimsy than progress. Progress is simply one thing following another retrospectively given the rubber stamp, or, simply what happens to be flavour of the month right now. What matters is what is judged to be good and on what grounds ... not some sort of stupid magical historical determinism or "I'm getting beter and better day by day" mantra.

[ 28. November 2003, 16:51: Message edited by: Fr. Gregory ]

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wasteland:
You'll need to stand up to the Donatistic Evangelicals or face a very sudden and quite possibly terminal decline in Christianity in the west.

Mike, I think you'll find that it isn't Evangelicals who are the main source of conservative-minded Christians (both senses of "conservative") its the Romans. THere are more or them than us.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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Whoops. That salutation to "Mike" may have been nothing but an old habit reinvoked when I saw the ritual whinge about evangelicals. I do not know the fleshware name of our Eliotist apprentice.

[ 28. November 2003, 17:58: Message edited by: ken ]

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Do you have a link to back this up, just out of curiousity? I believe you, but I find it baffling.

Divorce (& therefore remarriage) was unconstitutional in Ireland till 1995, when an amendment was passed by 1% in a referendum.

However the Irish constitution still forbids the remarriage in Ireland of people divorced in other jurisdictions for reasons that would not be valid in Ireland - which is the majority of divorces I suspect.

There is a loud and vociferous campaign in Ireland to have divorce made illegal again. It is unlikely to succeed, but it is supported by perhaps between a quarter and a half of the population (including the government) It is at the moment a subsidiary campaign to repeated attempts to have abortion made unconstitutional - that failed by a whisker 18 months ago.

A link to the Irish Constitution

Oh, and from catholics for choice
"The Vatican has reissued its declaration banning Catholics who have divorced and remarried from receiving communion, unless they abstain from sex. According to church doctrine, Catholics who divorce and remarry are living in sin, as they are still married to their first partner. According to the document, ministers "must refuse to distribute [communion] to those who are publicly unworthy." "

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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Holy Cow.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

Posts: 35076 | From: Pura Californiana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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I seriously doubt bovine santification. Can I still be a Christian please?

(Exits in late night silly mood ... or is that moo?)

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
TheOrthodoxPlot™

Posts: 15099 | From: Manchester, UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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