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@Ono Damn! You beat me to it. I was going to post that video. It's great, isn't it.
15 hours, 6 minutes ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Karll @timqz1 @ThomasRoss @Ono @BeauJackson @Vegemum Karil, I have another question. I believe that there are relative truths and absolute truths. An absolute truth is true for all times in all places. An example would be the Golden Rule. A relative truth, however, is only true for a particular time and/or a particular place. As humanity grows and evolves, these relative truths fall by the wayside and become replaced by other truths that more accurately reflect the current culture. An example of this would be St. Paul's apparent support of the institution of slavery (Ephesians 6:5-8), which was perfectly acceptable for his time and place, but now, of course, is seen as a great evil. Other examples of what I think are outdated "relative truths" in the Bible include the subjugation of women, and yes, viewing homosexuality as a "sin".
Can you see any room in your belief system for saying that what's written in the Bible is true, but some of those truths were "relative" and have since been replaced by others, while the absolute truths are unchangeable? Just curious.
19 hours, 26 minutes ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@BeauJackson @timqz1 @Karll @ThomasRoss @Ono @BeauJackson @Vegemum @Tiffani I didn't find your comment rambling. I found it beautifully articulated. Thanks.
19 hours, 47 minutes ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Snooterpoot @Karll Snooterpoot, I just wrote a comment before reading this comment of yours, where I made similar points. But you made those points way better than I did. Way to go!!
21 hours, 24 minutes ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Karll @timqz1 @ThomasRoss @Ono @CurtisBeauJackson @Vegemum Karil, I have a question for you. Like most people, I grew up in a household where my family had all sorts of beliefs about how things were, not just dealing with religion but with many other topics as well. As I grew into adulthood, from my own personal life experience, I learned to question some of those old beliefs because they just did not accurately reflect what I was experiencing on my own. I learned that my parents' realities were not the same as mine, and that many of the things they held as true just did not conform to what was going on in my life. So I dropped those inaccurate beliefs and substituted them with others that seemed more real and genuine to me. That's what life is all about, isn't it: growing, evolving, learning things through one's own experiences rather than just accepting, without question, beliefs handed down to you from others. And, yes, it was scary for me at times to abandon the safety of just taking in what I was taught rather than trying to sort things out on my own. It made my life a lot more complicated. But it also made my life a lot more authentic.
So my question to you is why did you just accept your family's belief that the Bible is the literal word of God and that nothing in it can be questioned? Other Christians haven't done this, and they still consider themselves devout Christians with deep faith. In your last comment you said: "Imagine what it would be like if you weren't gay, and you grew up in a loving home where the Bible was taught as the literal word of God. Would you have any reason to question it's validity?" Um, yes I probably would, if what I was taught didn't conform to what I experienced on my own. I don't mean this as an attack, but it strikes me that accepting carte blanche everything that people tell you, without question, is frankly being either lazy or excessively timid. Why did God give us brains and free will if we choose not to use them but just accept things blindly?
This goes way beyond the whole gay issue. I see Fundamentalists twist themselves into all sorts of logical pretzels to justify scripture that has clearly been refuted by modern science. The world is not just 6000 years old, Joshua couldn't have stopped the sun because that would have involved stopping the Earth's rotation, Noah couldn't have possibly had every animal on the planet in his ark. And the list goes on. Some of the Old Testament was written 4000 years ago, by humans who may have been inspired by God, but who didn't have access to scientific data that we have now. So why can't a Fundamentalist (which I assume you are) acknowledge that while there are some profound truths in the Bible about the human condition, especially in the teachings of Jesus, that there are passages in the Bible that are clearly outdated? This seems like a much more rational approach than insisting that we all have to take everything in the Bible literally. And why couldn't you allow yourself to at least question the beliefs of your family instead of just blindly accepting them?
Again, I want to stress that this comment is NOT meant to be an attack. But I just don't understand this part of Fundamentalism. I suspect that many non-Christians exposed to the teachings of Christ could see the wisdom in these teachings but still resist becoming Christians if they also had to accept as true Biblical "facts" that defy all reason and logic. I'm just interested in your thoughts on this matter.
21 hours, 41 minutes ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Karll @ThomasRoss @Ono @CurtisBeauJackson @Vegemum Karil, you directed your comment to Thomas, but I hope you don't mind if I respond to it too. From reading your comments, I don't doubt that you're a kind and loving person. If I met you in person, I'm sure that I would like you. And, as I said before, I give you lots of credit for trying to continue this dialogue in the face of a lot of negative blowback (a lot of which came from me). Previous comments of mine were angry, and while I don't take them back, I don't want to continue in that vein with you anymore.
Maybe the fault is mine in that I'm missing some point you're trying to make. I get it that you are trying to approach this very difficult topic in a loving way. Thank you. But if you take the position that homosexuality is "not in God's plan", that's a judgement. I'm sorry, but it is. And it's a judgement that I disagree with. As do many others, including many who also consider themselves Christians. I would be very interested in hearing your reasons why you have come to this conclusion. If you don't mind, could you please share your thoughts on this?
I have never understood why, out of all the issues in the world to focus on, the Christian communities have latched on to homosexuality with such ferocious tenacity. What is fueling all the energy behind this? Maybe you can give me some perspective on this, because I just don't get it. We are who we are, and we're just trying to live our lives. And I keep thinking that all the millions of dollars Christian communities spend to fight us (e.g., Proposition 8 in California) could have been put to so much better use, feeding the poor, providing medical clinics for them, or any number of projects for which there is a genuine and strong need. The attacks on homosexuals just seem so gratuitous to me.
I hope that one thing you are taking away from this forum is how much pain has been inflicted on homosexuals from these attacks. There are a lot of us who are really hurting as a result. I'm in a good place now after years of work on myself, but others have not been so fortunate. And yes, there are gays and lesbians, many of them young and very impressionable, who feel so much pain from these attacks that they think that the only way to escape it is to kill themselves. This breaks my heart. And there was a time, God forgive me, when I was very young, that I considered this option. The pain was so intense that I thought anything would be better than to continue on. Fortunately, I didn't follow through.
I think that there are many decent Christians who just don't get how hurting the LGBT community is because of these attitudes. Of course, the hate speech is the hardest to bear, but even comments coming from sincere, loving Christians that there is something basically wrong with us, is very hurtful. I don't want to carry this anger around with me any more; it really diminishes the quality of my life. But I need the Christians to just ease up before I can put the anger aside.
So anyway, for what it's worth, those are some of my views on this subject. I'm sorry if my past comments hurt you. But just bear in mind that the hurt and sense of being unfairly judged that you have felt is just a tiny fraction of what we have to deal with every day. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself.
1 day, 8 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Tiffani @timqz1 Of course you can share my comment with your family. I'm flattered that you want to. And don't worry about my anonymity. I have nothing to hide. Good luck.
1 day, 14 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@CurtisBeauJackson @Vegemum But be sure to save some of those rocks for stoning to death disobedient children.
@Karll @Ono @CurtisBeauJackson @Vegemum Karil, I'm not going to say angry things to you anymore, and, you may not believe it, but I wish you no ill. In fact, I respect you for perservering in this dialogue after being put on the hot seat. But it just seems to me that you're asking for the impossible if you absolutely refuse to even reconsider your belief that homosexuality, by its own nature, is a sin. Seriously, and I don't mean this in a snarky way, what do you want from those of us who are gay if you have this attitude?
Do you believe that homosexuality is a choice? If you do, you're wrong. I didn't choose to be gay, nor could I change even if I wanted to (which I don't, at this stage of the game). The other members of the LGBT community in this forum will back me up on this. So what are my alternatives? To regard a basic part of myself, my sexuality, as sinful, an abomination, something twisted and wrong that I need to distance myself from (or, to use your words, "not part of God's plan")? To give up my chance for love and intimacy, about the greatest joy we humans can experience, and instead lead a lonely, celibate life because Christians like you insist that that's the only way I can avoid "sinning"? Can't you see from our perspective how punishing and callous such an attitude like that seems?
And why do you insist on taking this hard line on homosexuality in the first place? Is it because of the six so-called "clobber Bible verses" trucked out as supposed evidence that God disapproves of homosexuality? Every one of those verses can and have been challenged as either misread, misinterpreted, or only relevant to a 4000 year old nomadic culture that has no bearing to our times today. If you want to review those counter arguments, hopefully with some kind of an open mind, they're easily accessible.
I can understand that adultery, theft, lying, murder, abuse (sexual or otherwise), etc. are sins because these are consciously chosen actions that hurt other, innocent people. Sexuality, homosexual or heterosexual, is not an action, it's a state of being that is essentially unchangeable. Tell me, who is hurt when two people form a loving, same-sex union?
Early in my life, when I didn't know any better, I took in those messages from Christians around me that who I was was something sinful and bad. I was filled with shame and self-hatred as a result, not occasionally, but every day for years. Seriously, do you think that that's a better place for me to be then to accept who I am and try to live my life with some grace and dignity? I rarely see any effort from the other side to just for a moment drop their preconceptions and LISTEN to us (which is why I give you credit for attempting a dialogue). Through years of work on myself, including years of therapy (I imagine I've helped put through college several therapists' children with the money I spent getting help), I healed enough to love myself and feel some self-respect. From my perspective, you just want to drag me back to those bad old days. I wish you could understand how hurtful and insensitive that attitude seems to me.
So here we are. You want to continue a dialogue, but with the condition that you will absolutely never, in any way, reconsider your view that homosexuality is a sin. What kind of dialogue can you expect with that attitude? If I were to accept your terms, it would be at the price of my hard-earned self respect. And I'm just not going to do that.
I get it that homosexuality may seem bizarre and unnatural to many heterosexuals. And that there's a certain "yuck" factor involved for many who don't experience same-sex attraction. But it's there, it's a reality, and it's not going to go away. Christians may continue to make us in the LGBT community feel really, really bad about who we happen to be, but do you really think that that is what Jesus intended? Really? If you can't get beyond this, then I don't see how a dialogue is possible.
1 day, 15 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Karll @timqz1 @Ono Karil, I'm angry because I've had to deal with "Christians" like you all my life and with their "nonjudgmental" judgements. My hide is a lot thicker now and I live in a safe place with good people, but, decades ago, when I was vulnerable and scared and lonely, I received nothing from "Christians" like you but a boot in the face. Oh, it was a very polite boot, wrapped in pretty, loving words, but it was a boot all the same. You say you're "heartbroken" about the trials that the gays you know have undergone. News flash: you're part of the reason why they suffer. By yourself I don't suppose you do much damage, but multiplied by the tens of thousands of Christians like you, the result is devastating. And terribly cruel, even if unconsciously so.
As far as your line "Someone can care deeply for a person and not fully agree with every aspect of their life", we're not talking about a debate like "You may like chocolate but I like vanilla, so let's agree to disagree and leave it at that." Sexuality is a core part of a person's essence. It determines whom he or she loves and how that person gets to experience intimacy. When you tell a confused, vulnerable gay person that a major part of their essential selves (which cannot be changed) is "not part of God's plan", you can create major havoc in that person's life, even to the point of suicide. In less extreme cases, you can fill a gay person with so much shame and despair that the rest of their lives are diminished drastically.
There is one major distinction between the gay minority and other oppressed minorities. A black person may suffer terribly from a racist culture, but in most cases he grows up in a black family that in turn lives in a black community. A gay adolescent, on the other hand, usually depends for survival and love from people who are straight: family, neighbors, friends, schools. And churches. If the only message this adolescent receives from all these people is that who he or she is is "wrong", can you even imagine how much damage this does?
And no, you're right, you didn't say that homosexuality is "evil and wrong". You used coded buzz words that say the same thing, that it's "not part of God's plan". The language is less harsh, but the meaning behind it is the same.
Finally, the excuse "But my intentions were good" means nothing to someone who has been injured by you. The pain is still the same and is still as damaging.
I don't think you are coming from a hateful place. But I do think you are coming from a complacent one. Since you're not gay yourself, you aren't injured by the homophobia coming from the pulpits, and you can just shrug it off. You don't question those assumptions; because they don't pertain to you personally, you can accept them glibly and just pass them on to others. Not exactly a WWJD reaction. And as far as the claim that gays in turn are "persecuting Christians", are gays trying to take away basic human rights of Christians? Being angry at injustice is NOT being unjust oneself. You Christians dominate this culture and can hardly consider yourselves "oppressed". Though so many of you sure do like to play that card.
2 days, 17 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Karll @Ono Karil, you really have appointed yourself as God's special mouthpiece, haven't you? I don't know, maybe you think you're acting out of good intentions (and we know what the road to hell is paved with, right?), but you just come across as insufferably arrogant. I think you would benefit tremendously from developing a little humility, like maybe, just maybe, acknowledging that you don't have a lock on all the answers about the human condition. I've said this in earlier comments, but you can find some scrap of scripture that could justify any human horror from racism, misogyny, slavery, war, even genocide. And homophobia. That's why God gave us brains and the ability to reason, so that we don't just parrot scripture but actually use our minds to try to determine what is right and wrong. Have you EVER made an honest attempt to drop the judgement JUST ONCE and talk with gay people, hear their stories, understand their experience, and allow that the situation isn't as black and white as you seem to think it is? Instead, you just swoop down onto this forum and with feigned humility tell us all that you know for a fact that homosexuality is wrong and evil. You say that you're "not judging anyone". Either you're being extremely disingenuous or extremely clueless, because your comments are nothing but judgement.
Ono was right (as usual). When you finally have to give an accounting of your life, I think you're going to be unpleasantly surprised that your actions aren't being seen as blameless as you seem to think they are.
3 days, 13 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
Happy Fathers' Day everyone.
3 days, 17 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@kathleen z @timqz1 @Tiffani Thanks, Kathleen. Your son is one very lucky guy to have a parent like you.
@mandymullins82 @timqz1 @Karll @ThomasRoss Sure, Mandy, if you think any of my comments are worth repeating, have at it! Good luck.
3 days, 19 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Tiffani @timqz1 Well, as long as we're sharing our personal stories, my "passion" comes from a lifetime of being on the receiving end of condemnation and contempt masked as "good Christian concern for my soul". What made all this particularly galling was that people were shredding me up inside to the point where suicide (many, many years ago) seemed like a viable option but were masking their attacks as "Christian" love. It was worse than hypocrisy. At least a hypocrite has enough self-awareness to know that his actions are wrong and that he has to pretend to be something that he isn't. It was (and is) the smugness of these "good Christians" that was (and is) so infuriating. They never even tried to listen to my story, to learn from me from my experiences, to acknowledge my own humanity and my own struggle.
It's been a long, hard journey towards healing, and I can't truthfully say that the healing has been complete. But I have self-respect and self-love now, and I consider myself overall to be a happy man with some wonderful, loving people in my life. But I still struggle with a lot of anger over what was done to me and what is currently being done to other (like me once) impressionable, confused and scared young gays and lesbians. And every time I read or hear about some young gay person killing themselves because of the scorn and shame heaped on them by "Christians", it breaks my heart. And feeds my rage.
This is my current struggle: not to sink into permanent bitterness. I think that by and large I've succeeded, but it's a daily fight. But at the same time, I will NOT tolerate listening to the same "Christian" claptrap about how their scorn and hate is really nothing but concern and love (Karil in this forum is the current example of this).
The sad thing is that I really do love Jesus's message. And I love Jesus and all that he represents. But these "Christians" have so poisoned the well for me, that I just can't go back to the Christian church. I was raised in a Christian household and exposed to Christ's teachings, so I can claim some familiarity with the tenets of Christianity. I also have virtually no interaction with my biological family because they are too uncomfortable with my gayness (and, to be frank, with my liberal politics). My "family" nowadays is made up by my friends and loved ones.
This forum has given me the opportunity to find a voice and share my story. It has also let me confront some of those "Christians" who spread hatred in the name of love, and to call them on it. That's been very healing. Any harshness I've directed towards you in my comments, Tiffani, comes from this. And, again, I'm very moved to see how you have in fact listened to us and have shared that you too are struggling and evolving. That is so much better than the glib, air-tight complacency so frequently demonstrated by "Christians" in this forum who have just come in order to gay-bash in the name of Christ.
4 days, 5 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Ono @Tiffani Ono, I just read your essay. It was so moving, so beautifully written. One of the best things about participating in this forum is that it's given me the opportunity to interact with some incredibly beautiful people. Like you. Thanks.
4 days, 9 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@Tiffani @Ono Tiffani, I know we've bumped heads together in the past, but I'm very moved by your latest comment. Sometimes pain and doubt can be good things. They're an acknowledgement that we don't have all the answers and that the world is not black and white but is far more complex and nuanced than we normally give it credit for. And they certainly are an improvement over smug complacency.
I have a lot of respect for you taking on this struggle, when it would have been so much easier for you to just accept things without question. There's some real depth of character shown there.
I know you've felt picked on here in this forum, and yet you keep coming back. I have a lot of respect for that too. There are some really, really good people participating in this forum. This is a good place to hang out. I'm glad you're part of this community.
@Karll @ThomasRoss @SimJim Well, as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. You have taken a group that consists of millions of people, and without regards to who they are as individuals, how they conduct their lives, or who they love, you have judged them all as "sinners". Sorry, but that's a textbook case example of bigotry. If you don't like being called a bigot, then stop acting like one. Sins are ACTIONS, they are not states of being such as gender or race. Is an African-American a "sinner" for being black? Whether you're willing to admit it or not, it's the same situation for GLBT's. Sexuality, gay or straight, is a human condition determined at birth and impossible to change. NO gay man or lesbian chose to be homosexual (when did you choose to be heterosexual?). It's the hand we've been dealt with, and we're just trying to play it with as much grace as possible. To start pointing fingers at gays and lesbians and denouncing them as "sinners" when we are just people trying to live our lives with dignity and self respect, is a harsh and hateful thing to do and about as far from Christ's teachings as you can get.
As far as feeling like Christians are "the new group of people being pushed into the closet", it never ceases to amaze me how some Christians are so eager to play the victim card. Christians totally dominate American culture, you all have been calling the shots here for centuries, and you're being picked on?! Seriously, give me a break.
@Ono @Tiffani Ono, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support over the past couple of years in this forum. Your comments are always spot on and full of fierce compassion. I've really enjoyed reading the comments you make..
5 days, 11 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.
@kathleen z @timqz1 @Tiffani @CarolynWolfe Thank you, Kathleen. And thanks for your support and all your past comments. I've been very moved by them.
5 days, 18 hours ago on I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.