Christian Pastor Tries to Support Gay People… by Ignoring Contradictory Bible Verses and Suggesting God Can Fix Them July 6, 2012

Christian Pastor Tries to Support Gay People… by Ignoring Contradictory Bible Verses and Suggesting God Can Fix Them

After Anderson Cooper told the world he was gay last week, Pastor Craig Gross wrote an article for CNN offering a response to what Cooper did.

Here’s what Gross intended to say (in my mind):

A lot of Christians say homosexuality is a sin, but they ignore all the other sins in the Bible. You would never see a gay pastor in an evangelical church… but you see fat ones all the time! Christians just ignore the whole “gluttony is a sin” thing. So, Christians, lay off on Anderson Cooper. Love him like you would anyone else.

But in the process of saying all that, here are some of the things that he actually wrote:

Most Christians believe you should just help your friends to not be gay when, in all honesty, only Christ can do that.

Umm… no. Christ can’t help your friends “not be gay” because sexual orientation isn’t an on/off switch. (Also, Christ doesn’t exist…) You would think, pastoring to porn stars as Gross does, he would have met people who are LGBT and learned at least that about them… I guess not.

Then there’s the obligatory Bible quoting:

After I tweeted [about Anderson Cooper coming out] I got e-mails and a direct message asking the same question: “You still like him now?”

I was saddened by that reaction and started thinking: What would happen if we read the Bible and, instead of highlighting certain passages, we took it all for what it is — truth.

In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don’t indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.

What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.

God loves gays and Jesus is for them. God loves the fat preacher. Homosexual activity and overeating are both sins — just like speeding, gossip, lying and cheating. I think I did all of those just today.

All are forgivable in Christ and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be changed. Just remember that change does not happen overnight.

And wherever you are at on that journey, I think there should be a place for you at church. Because there’s probably one in heaven.

Gross didn’t say this in the piece, but he actually quoted 1 Corinthians 6:13.

Maybe he didn’t get that specific because only a few sentences prior to that, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the Bible talks about how gay men (who don’t change their ways) will most certainly NOT go to Heaven, directly contradicting what Gross writes in the rest of his essay:

… Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

It’s hard to believe Gross missed that passage when he was writing this piece… but, you know, why include it when it goes against his narrative? That would be too honest.

This is why Christians should never quote from the Bible. Whatever passage you want to use to justify your point, atheists can just as easily cherry-pick something that contradicts it. It’s not hard.

This is also why it’s hard to take Christians seriously when they try to use the Bible to justify putting LGBT individuals on equal footing. If Christians support that, that’s great, but it’s going to happen in spite of what the Bible says, not because of it.

If you support gay rights, the mainstream Christian church (especially evangelicals) wants nothing to do with you. It’s because they know the Bible doesn’t support marriage equality. You’re lying to yourself if you believe otherwise.

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  • That’s why he has to include Jesus in his argument, because he wipes out the rest of the bible by saying ‘as long as you think I’m real when you die, all is forgiven.’ So anyone can ‘inherit the kingdom of god’ as long as you have a cross around your neck when you die.

  • noyourgod

    Oh, c’m0n…  If Stan Marsh can help creatures be not-gay (“Don’t be gay, Sparky!”), then what makes you think that the j-man can’t?

  • mikespeir

    But look at that smile and the three-day-old beard.  He’s a good guy.  I can feel it.  😉

  • ortcutt

    Contra Paul and Craig Gross, my body isn’t “the Lord’s”.  It’s mine and I share it with my fiancee.  Sorry, but I don’t want any part in Christianity’s kinky dominance and submission role-playing with an imaginary sky-father. 

  • Whichever side these Christians take on the matter, they still come across like a roomful of Talmudic rabbis, picking apart the verses, the sentences, the words… maybe even the individual letters, in an effort to elucidate some vanishingly subtle rule they believe to be present, and in all that utterly missing the message of their religion.

  • The passage you cited (1 Cor. 6:9-10) should also not be taken out of context.  If your intent is simply to ”
    cherry-pick something that contradicts” what the pastor was trying to communicate, fine but at least you are admitting to cherry-picking as well.  If your purpose is just to laugh at the Christian rube who doesn’t know his own Bible, well done.  But if you’re trying to convince someone that they are wrong it helps to make a cogent, in context argument and cherry-picking a verse or two out of the context of it’s own chapter, book and the rest of the New Testament won’t really make a difference.

    If you would rather have a substantive discussion about the issue it might help to frame it this way: gluttons can change their behavior – they can eat less (I’m living proof of that), eat better and be healthier.  Your argument seems to be that homosexuals can’t change their behavior (note – not their orientation, I don’t think that’s what the pastor was intending to communicate and if it was then he should simply be ignored and you should move on to those who make more substantive arguments).  In other words, that their sexual orientation compels them, apart from any free will, to engage in homosexual acts (note – this is a question of compulsion not a question of whether or not those acts are moral).  I think that that would be a much more interesting and enlightening discussion if you are willing to engage in it.

  • Duke

    Okay, substantive discussion.

    Gluttony can be damaging to one’s health, shortening a person’s lifespan and reducing their quality of life.  Therefore, one might counsel a person that they should be aware of the possible consequences.

    What exactly are the consequences of same-sex relationships?  See, you say that gay and lesbian people have the ability to abstain from certain behaviors so they have no excuse.  But, you seem to have skipped the reasons why those behaviors are something to be avoided and why they would ever need to make an excuse.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

     Your religious orientation appears to be christian, most likely catholic, I dare you, for the remainder of your life, to not act upon the compulsion of spreading your religion’s dogma.
    Go ahead just simply make a mindful decision and say to your self “I will remain a christian but I won’t spread the gospel anymore.” “I won’t in anyway, shape or form, in action or deed, covertly or otherwise, attempt to spread, teach or show favor to my religious orientation” and “from now on out to the end of my days I will act like an Atheist” or “at least a closeted christian.”
    I doubt you can, I doubt you are mature enough of a man to do that. I doubt you will ever find the faith, courage, will or strength to do what I ask of you. 
    Because as hard as you try you will never be able to act against the inclinations of your orientation.
    Many pedophilia oriented catholic priests have proven that statement. (and where was your god’s hand to protect those children from harm?)

  • Lance

    Okay, I think that what this pastor was trying to do is uncharacteristic of Christians. He in no way bashed homosexuals, in fact, he is trying to ‘help’ them. Think what you may about Christians, but it seems to me that they only want to help.

  • Indeed I did because I thought it was first important to establish whether or not we were discussing involuntary compulsion or (relatively) freely chosen activity.  You seem to be saying that acting on a homosexual orientation is a (relatively) free choice thus moving it into the realm of ethics and morals.

    The negative (or potentially negative) health impacts of various homosexual acts have been well documented and I don’t think need to be further discussed – sufficed to say that homosexual acts can lead to the reduction of a person’s quality of life similarly to gluttony potentially leading to a negative quality of life.

    However, that still doesn’t really get at your final question which is the moral one – why avoid behaviors that have negative impacts on quality of life?  What if I prefer to be fat and happy, even if it might lead to a heart attack and death in 15 or 20 years.  Your counsel to me is good but I might still choose to ignore it.  Similarly I might say that engaging in reproductive-digestive system sexual acts might lead to many different negative health outcomes.  You can still choose to ignore that advice.
    Still, you and I are both choosing our actions.  If we grant just for moment that inside the Christian paradigm certain actions (including gluttony and homosexual actions) are sinful than the argument is that (with God’s help) the Christian can and should give up those behaviors as part of their spiritual growth.  Thus the pastor is not incorrect to make the point towards Christians that they shouldn’t pick on homosexual activity (to which most of them are not inclined anyway) and ignore gluttony (to which many of them are inclined) because God (in their paradigm) is calling everyone to be holy.Now, the question about whether or not any particular action is moral or not (including homosexual ones) is a further (and much longer) topic.  But I think you and I agree that how each of us acts on our sexuality (be it heterosexual, homosexual or other) is a freely chosen action – not an involuntary compulsion.  I’m interested to see what others on this thread think.

  • NewAtheist

    Lance, I have to applaud you for trying to find the good. Most Christians that I have encountered (and believe me, it’s been A LOT) don’t just want to help… they’re looking for brownie points on the imaginary scales balancing heaven/hell. Definitely not altruistic. They also don’t want to just help, they want to change people. That’s not true help.

  • So you think that acting on a homosexual orientation is involuntary.  So far, Duke thinks that actions are chosen, while Bubba is more of a determinist (at least when it comes to sexual orientation).

    Any other takers?

  • NewAtheist

    Just once, I’d like to have a real discussion with a religious person about the “gay” question. Why do the religious insist that being sexually and romantically attracted to the same gender is a choice, and inherently wrong? Science is proving more and more every day that it’s a form of population control (gay relationships don’t produce offspring through their own biology). And not every gay person is inherently sexually promiscuous, just like not every straight person is sexually promiscuous.

    Most churches try to disguise their hatred by saying that they welcome “moral” gays, ie. those that don’t have sex outside of marriage. Which, since it’s predominantly illegal in America, is tantamount to saying, “we want you to be around families, see what you’re missing and can never have, and what we’re denying you: the ability to find a loving relationship with all the perks and pitfalls that entails. We want you to be celebate, frustrated, and angry enough to ‘turn straight’.”

    But really, what I want will never happen: I just want us, as Americans, to be able to let people live their lives, no government involved in our bedrooms or partnerships, as long as we don’t harm each other. Two gay men getting married in Vermont does not in any way negate my marriage, nor harm it. Two gay women becoming parents does not in any way negate my family, nor my parenting, nor harm it. Can’t we all just get along?

  • Ken

    I have to agree to this extent: we live in a pluralistic society.  If this pastor is able to bend his convictions to this position, I say thank you.  I’ll accept whatever help comes along.

  • Dan, you miss the point. The cherry picking is valid because the cogent point is that all biblically based arguments are cherry picked. The bible is a book that was assembled by committee, choosing from large body of texts written over a 1000+ years by dozens of authors, and each of the committee members had their own agendas as to what was in and what was out. The result is a rambling, incoherent, contradictory mess. 

  • Here is yet another perfect debunking of the old argument that religion makes you a better, more moral person. Here is a guy who seems to be a god person and who could probably be ok with homosexuality and gay marriage but, because of his bible, he has to twist his better nature into still regarding homosexuality as a sin. Religion doesn’t make you a better person, in many cases it holds you back.

  • Vend Tana

     Same-sex relationships can be fatal. Google Matthew Shepard et al. It is terribly difficult to be gay in our society, in spite of all the progress we’ve made in the past few decades. Social exclusion, persecution, and ridicule are definitely negative consequences of being gay.

    I think I get the gist of what Dan F is saying. Behavior is absolutely within our control, and if we decide certain behaviors are undesirable we have the ability to change them.

    Homosexuality may not be a choice, but regardless of your sexuality if you choose to be promiscuous, engage in risky behavior, commit adultery, etc., then this is not good behavior. You can choose not to be that way.

    If your religious beliefs tell you that homosexual sex is wrong, or overeating is wrong, etc. then you have the “free will” to try to be more right in the way you live.

    I realize the pastor’s message is not entirely enlightened but it is a big step forward. In a way, being gay and being fat are similar. People don’t usually CHOOSE to be fat. Genetics conspire against them. They are similarly persecuted, excluded, and ridiculed. They may try to diet and exercise but ultimately fail. I’m sure many gay people have tried to “not be gay”. And of course it doesn’t work. I at least appreciate the fact the pastor says, “Don’t hate these people or try to change them. We all sin.” Now as an atheist I don’t agree that sin exists, and I certainly don’t think enjoying food or sex is a bad thing. But like I said, it’s a positive step forward for a religious person to back off the “Fags go to hell” attitude, don’t you think?

  • kagekiri

    What the crap? What is the “context” that’s being taken incorrectly here? Is it the previous chapter of 1st Corinthians, where Paul says to kick the sexually immoral out of church, and not to even eat with them? Where he says to judge them for their outward immorality, as is the church’s right? Where is this “cherry picking”?

    Why don’t you stop saying “you’re just cherry picking” and show us your supposed proof? Explain how Paul is somehow being taken out of context. Go ahead.

    Citations needed, badly.

    In regards to your “substantial discussion,” I’m heterosexual and never acted on it, as I’m a virgin. Hurray, you don’t “have to” act on your natural sexual orientation, and I’m living proof!

    Oh wait, that’s a POINTLESS discussion that’s not even the core issue ANYWHERE.

    The question is whether people should be allowed to act on their natural (and apparently God given as claimed in Romans 1) sexual orientations with consenting adults, and the obvious answer is YES, in spite of stupid religious arguments and attempts to limit other’s rights. 

    Deal with it.

  • Salty

    They are not comparable ‘compulsions’.  You can argue that high-risk sexual activities can lead to negative health effects, but those are not specific to gay and lesbian sex.  Plenty of straight people engage in high-risk sex.   Actually, lesbian sex is one of the safest, next to masturbation 🙂

    Overindulging in food leads to negative health outcomes, and has no health benefits.   Dating a person of the same sex whom you have fallen in love with… is wonderful.   Very beneficial to emotional health.  Denying your attractions, and choosing a lonely life because you are trying ‘not to sin’ by engaging in ‘the gay lifestyle’ is psychologically and emotionally damaging, because you are denying your authentic self.   

    All of this talk from progressive Christians about accepting the gay person, but condemning the choice to engage in certain behaviors, is highly entertaining.   I appreciate that they are trying to be more inclusive and whatnot, but still feel they are missing the point.   It’s not about sexual acts, it’s about who you fall in love with.  

  • Rick W

     When I was a fundie Christian I used to hear them say constantly that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.”  But that was total BS because they constantly talked of gays as if they were evil incarnate. They were “perverts” and “sodomites”.  They didn’t want them to be preachers, teachers, in the military, scout leaders—the list goes on and on. But yet they claimed they “loved” them.
      Then when I became a liberal Christian I had to try to twist scripture around to say what I wanted it to say–i.e when the scripture talks about homosexuality being an “abomination” they were really talking about pedophilia. It was dishonest but it made me feel better. Most liberal Christians ty to sugarcoat the nasty passages in the Bible.
      Then I became an atheist and I take the Bible for what it is. An ancient book written by a semi-savage people that is composed mostly of fairy tales.  I realized for Christians to try to make the Bible say something it doesn’t is absurd. This is why I can’t take people like Gross seriously. Either believe what the Bible says or don’t.  I don’t.

  • Duke

    Thank you.

    My brain had to do some mental gymnastics through Dan F.’s talk about “reproductive-digestive system sexual acts”.  There were so many problems with that and his association of it with gay and lesbian sex.

  • RobMcCune

    I’m pretty sure no one argues that sexual orientation compels people to have sex against their will. Who a person has sex with is their choice. This is different from sexual orientation, which is not something a person has control over. Who a person is attracted to, or loves is not their choice.  However asking someone to deny that  when it it doesn’t significantly harm themselves or others is wrong, given how sex and relationships are important to a person’s emotional well being. Additionally convincing a person that thoughts and feeling they have no control over is something wrong with them harms that well being, and denies them an important part of the human experience.

  • Ken

    Then why did Paul advise his followers not to marry unless they couldn’t control their desires?  Simply accept that “those desires” include homosexual activities, and you have your get out of jail free card.  The idea that gays have to live a life suppressing “those desires” because some doofus shepherd had a hallucination from food poisoning (or whatever) is absurd.  Seriously, check your belief systems (and your Bible before promoting a life of celibacy to anyone.  

    Think about Exodus, and the period a lot of these loony commandments came from: it would never take 40 years to cross the Sinai — 2 million people standing sideways or strung out single file (2 ft. shoulder width = 2,000,000 feet) will span 100 miles (52,800 ft) about 7+ times quite easily. It’s simple math.  Nobody working for God could be THAT stupid, could they?

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    I’m sure there are many closeted members of lgbt community that will never act upon their urges, but what you are asking of them is to accept their suffering to please the ego of your religious community. 

    My best guess is that natural selection has made allowances for a maladaptive deviation from the norm, the norm being male/female procreation. The propagation of our species depends upon males and females having sex. I might even be possible due to the vast numbers of homosexuals that natural selection favors this maladaptive deviance in some manner. Maybe is purely altruistic.  I’ll have to ask Dr. Dawkins if this is correct or not, since I am not versed well in biology.
    So yes I am leaning toward determinism being mindful that our society has yet to fully grasp the mechanics of maladaptive behaviors.
    But, I am pretty certain that homosexuality existed in our species well before Abraham invented his version of monotheism and I am pretty certain that it will still be around long after that philosophy is finally rejected.

  • Duke

    Okay, I’m not going to address your point of freely chosen action/compulsion.  Let us just say that the philosphoical and biological discussion of free will is not something in which I’m well versed.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable defending either position.

    But going back to the pastor’s point about not picking on gays and lesbians, I’m not sure he makes a very good argument.  His quotation could just as easily be taken as a call to pick on gluttonous people more often. 

    Obviously, gluttons need to be shamed just as much as the gays and lesbians to stop them from sinning.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Freewill would also allow the theists to reject the passages in the bible concerning homosexuality as they similarly reject passages promoting the stoning of adulterers, but oddly they don’t act upon that agent of freewill. Otherwise there would be hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of dead christians from stoning.

    What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander.

  • Randomfactor

    “Same-sex relationships can be fatal.”

    So can being female, in some countries.

  • Randomfactor

    Paul himself was NOT a model of a sexually-healthy person, even for his time.

  • And you don’t even have to believe what it says in any literal fashion to remain a Christian.

  • Edmond

    What everyone is trying to tell you here (and my point of view comes from a gay man) is that yes, gay people CAN control their behaviors, insofar as who they have sex with, and when, and how.  But, they can’t control who they are attracted to.  So far so good? 

    Now, the Christian position seems to be, if I am attracted to a man, I should NOT pursue that.  Not for the purposes of sexual gratification, not for romance, not for companionship, not for marriage, not for a monogamous relationship, not for ANY purpose.

    So, the question becomes, why not?  Why should I be alone?  Why should I be restricted from doing what you are free to do?  Why is it “bad” to pursue homosexual activity?

    That’s the only kind of sexual attraction I feel.  I feel absolutely nothing when I see a woman.  Should I still pursue that?  Even if it makes me unhappy?  Even if it makes HER unhappy?  What standards should I use to choose a suitable woman, since that’s not in my nature?

    Why do gay people even EXIST, if there’s a god who doesn’t want them to pursue those feelings?  Why isn’t he just making everyone STRAIGHT, if that’s what he wants from them?

    What are god’s STANDARDS for calling homosexuality “wrong”?  It harms no one for my partner and I to be together (least of all a god), but it would be harmful to US to separate us, or ask us to live our lives alone.  There seems to be NO PURPOSE to god asking gay people to be celibate.  It REALLY just sounds like the values of the primitive people who wrote the bible, who had no understanding of the concept of sexual orientation, and no reservations of putting such people to DEATH.

    Sure, there are risks involved with gay sex, and the gay community reflects that.  But we can pinpoint EXACTLY what the problems are.  Promiscuity is the number one contributing factor to the spread of STD’s, not homosexuality.  I don’t have any, my partner doesn’t have any.  Avoiding disease is easy, with a little planning and care.  In fact, it’s SO easy, one wonders why god didn’t provide instructions on THIS front, rather than condemn an entire demographic to social pariahdom.

    There seems to be no logic to god’s commands about homosexuality.  It provides no accomodation for people who ONLY feel homosexual desire.  It doesn’t address the reality of sexual orientation.  And, worst of all, it created a climate of hatred and violence that gay people would have to contend with for CENTURIES.  This is either the deliberate design of a god, or the unfortunate xenophobia of tribal patriarchs.  I know which one looks more likely.

  • NewAtheist

    Edmond, lovely argument! I have to say I completely agree. Especially haivng seen, firsthand, the effects of A-the Christian persecution of gays/lesbians, B-the social shunning of the lifestyle, and C-the sexual promiscuity of both hetero and gay and the harm it causes. Thank you for addressing all of that.

  • NewAtheist

    Scientists have found what they believe to be the gene responsible for homosexuality, and are postulating that it is a form of population control. Look at our planet; is there any doubt that we need to stop taxing the planet’s resources so?

  • NewAtheist

    I personally find it funny when Christians have no logical argument for something, no facts, so they resort to the Jesus Clause.

  • Mark

    I like this quote from above:

    “Most Christians believe you should just help your friends to not be gay when, in all honesty, only Christ can do that.”I love this quote!!Christ certainly can do that.  So why do so many so-called Christians think they have to do it for Jesus?  Christians claim they believe in the power and authority of Christ but then they behave as if Christ doesn’t exist or has no power.   Hey, Christians, Yes, I’m talking to YOU!  Christ can fix Gay people (if indeed he wants to) so you christians shoud  butt out and mind your own DAMN business!Start acting like Jesus really exists and you aren’t just acting out of  your own perverted ego, ya arrogant morons!

  • All the hypocritical, pseudo-christians (and the clergy of their respective apostate sects)  don’t get the Bible, most of them don’t even truly believe it, (except for their few ‘pet’ scriptures).  They only know the dogma of their particular brand of apostasy.   The Bible, in the OT, set a group of laws for the nation of Israel, but those laws DID NOT and DO NOT apply to ANYONE except the physical nation of Israel and those who claim to practice the Jewish religion.  In the NT, a different covenant is in force, but there are certain actions that are deemed unacceptable and certain principles of behavior that are prescribed for anyone who wishes to actually be a Christian.   VERY FEW of those who CLAIM to be Christian meet even a small part of those prerequisites.  Matt 7:13-27  addresses some of those issues and how the imitation Christians (basically about 95%+ of those who claim membership) will be dealt with in the judgement.  
    There are many sins. Homosexuality isn’t treated any differently or described as being any worse then the many sexual sins committed by the ‘Good’ hetero-sexual ‘Christians’. Those who ‘Practice’ Fornication IE: pre-marital sex, one night stands, etc., and Adultery, IE: ANY sex with a person that is not a spouse, will receive the same reward as those who ‘Practice’ Homosexuality,  regardless of what any self-righteous member of the religious community wants to espouse.

  •  Yeah, we’ve already heard that song and dance.   Gay people are supposed to go their entire lives without love, companionship and intimacy.  It’s “in their best interest” and all.  Because an ancient text that purports to speak the “word of god” and some modern people who claim to do the same say so.   

    What a bunch of cruel, heartless, inhumane bullsh*t. 

  •  Do you think all gay men have buttsex (“reproductive-disgestive system sex acts”) ?
    Do you think no heterosexual couples have buttsex?

    Maybe you should check your premises before you preach. 

    “The negative (or potentially negative) health impacts of various
    homosexual acts have been well documented and I don’t think need to be
    further discussed – sufficed to say that homosexual acts can lead to the
    reduction of a person’s quality of life similarly to gluttony
    potentially leading to a negative quality of life.”

    Citation needed.  Be forewarned that Paul Cameron is not a credible source.

  •  Well, you know, heterosexuals share love.  Gay people have compulsions they act on because they’re just sinful, dirty animals.

  •  That’s the problem when you’re taking your morals and marching orders from a book rather than using your own brain. 

  • Miss_Beara

    This is quite possibly one of the best responses I have read on the Friendly Atheist. 


  • ‘The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”

    What is this bizarre obsession Christians have with pushing their god into our sex lives?  It’s rather creepy

  • OregoniAn

     Extremely well put, Edmond. Bravo!

  • Dawny229

     =”Why do the religious insist that being sexually and romantically
    attracted to the same gender is a choice, and inherently wrong? Science
    is proving more and more every day that it’s a form of population
    control (gay relationships don’t produce offspring through their own
    biology). And not every gay person is inherently sexually promiscuous,
    just like not every straight person is sexually promiscuous.”=

    Your talking about a group of people who think the earth is only 6000 years old.

  • Dawny229

    I’ve noticed that in the last couple of years, there has been a lot of talk among Christian/evangelical groups about “loving homosexuals”…how the church treats gay people is becoming a wedge issue within the church itself.  I imagine a lot of them are trying to resolve the cognitive dissonance they feel when they try to resolve “loving homosexuals” with “homosexuality is a sin”…I think they really are trying…but lets face it, until they can actually welcome and affirm gay people within their lives, mainstream Christianity is going to continue having almost nothing to offer them..

  • Charles Baran

    The problem is, fundamentally, Mr. Mehta, not that the Pastor in question is being dishonest, but that you read the bible (or, I am presuming, any other religious work) the way fundamentalist Christians tell you to read it. This is slightly hypocritical.  Fundamentalist Christians believe that every word in the bible must be the literal word of God, to be given a true or false test, which is an absurd, stupid, modern way to read the bible (or any other religious work).  Few religions, except in the modern day, have ever for any length of time actually read their holy texts in that sort of fashion. Indeed, if you study the bible, it has two contradictory flood myths and creation stories in it; which we in the modern day are often trained to overlook.

    What you are doing is the same as taking a parable, say a children’s educational cartoon, and arguing over whether or not there are talking donkeys, or specific phrases in the cartoon, rather then trying to use the cartoon to understand the lesson, or as a new way for those children to see things. If you try and use a religious text to pick out words legalistically rather then finding a new way of seeing the world…which is what you and the fundamentalist Christians both do…you’ll only end up looking like a fool. Though, in all fairness, the pastor in question comes across as rather ignorant, too, so there is room to criticize there. Your wording of what he was trying to say was much better then his own wording.

  • Interesting choice of photo.  One might suspect he’s going for the “I’m a lumberjack” demographic.
    Interesting character: 

  • Scathe

    wow, why do you care so much about what Christians are saying and doing?

  • Scathe

     You can have one with me. I’ll take you to school.

  • Scathe

    You know what. I’ll take any one of you atheists and “former fundies” to school here. i challenge every single one of you. Bring it on, at my blog:

  • There’s no “substantive discussion” to be had, Dan, because there’s nothing wrong with having a same-sex relationship. There’s simply nothing to debate. Christians can insist that their god wants gay people to be celibate, but their objections are based on nothing more than an ancient book, written by men who were themselves sexist and homophobic. What’s the point of going down the rabbit hole of theology with such people? I doubt very much that there is any kind of “enlightening discussion” to be had with people who believe this sort of cruel nonsense.

  • Because Christians don’t live in a vacuum. Their actions affect others in society. And when people put their opinions out there in the public square (as Craig Gross did), then they should not be surprised to encounter criticism or disagreement.

  • Whenever religionists pretend to find reasons to object to homosexuality on “secular” grounds, it always boils down to anal sex. They’re obsessed with it. And it’s such a red herring, too, since (due to sheer numbers) the majority of anal sex is had by straight couples. Their faux-concern for the health of gay men is amusing, or at least it would be if it didn’t lead to such awful prejudice and discrimination.

  • What makes your way of interpreting the Bible better than the fundamentalist way? I’m not being facetious here. A lot of mainline Protestants and Catholics look down on evangelicals and fundamentalists because they think their faith is more sophisticated or is a sign of a better education. You’re assuming that the Bible is “meant” to be interpreted a certain way. Why make that assumption? The Bible is a book. It can be interpreted any way the reader wants. How does one justify saying that the liberals and moderates are right, and the conservatives are wrong?

  • I cannot believe this guy is getting away with comparing Anderson Cooper to a fat pastor.  A huge insult followed by a bunch of gobbledygook.

  • Baby_Raptor

    There are no risks exclusive to homosexual activity. Your entire premise is undermined. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Anyone can choose to murder another person for any reason. I could go out tomorrow and choose to shoot someone because I dislike their shoe colour. 

    The fact that there are bigots out there that are so crazy that they’ll kill someone because they personally dislike the person’s lifestyle is not a risk that gays have inherently. It’s a risk thanks to the fact that we live in a draconian society that think that their opinions on how others should live should matter. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Help? How is he helping? If he actually wanted to help, he’d stop treating us like there’s something wrong with us. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Because christians are out there on a daily basis trying to dictate how everyone else lives. You might be okay with that, but the rest of us have the same freedoms you do–The freedoms NOT to live by any religion that we don’t believe in.

    So, until they stop trying to make the rest of us live by their set of rules, we’re going to pay attention to them. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    I went to your blog, looking for your challenge. The first post says that you see no reason to talk with people who disagree with you. 

    You want to live in your bubble? That’s fine. You can keep imagining that you’ll school us. I imagine you need the ego stroke. 

  • TomS

    A minor point, but one that is important for those who proof-text, including the author of this blog: the passage Mr. Mehta cites, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, has been the subject of some scholarly discussion, and the translation used here, the NIV, is (like all translations) theologically driven (in this case, a heavily anti-feminist & anti-gay theology).   The original Greek in the passage is not obviously about homosexuality, and there are reasonable arguments based on historical context that it was in fact not about it at all.   But the truth is that we don’t have enough context to really draw any conclusions about meaning, and with this in mind it becomes startlingly obvious that the many discussions of the passage start with the conclusion the author wants (one way or another), and then build up an argument to support that position.  This is the case for pretty much every passage in the Bible that is taken to refer to homosexuality, as is obvious when we set aside theologically-driven translations & look at the original language); I am thus of the opinion that on this topic, as on abortion, it is correctly characterized as “a Bible of ambiguity.”  No useful conclusions can be drawn one way or other, from proof texts. 

  • “Reproductive-digestive system sexual acts” is right up there with Nordog’s “sterile sex party supplies” when talking about contraception. Just FYI, if fundie Catholics want to be taken seriously, it might help not to invent phrases that make you sound like part of the lunatic fringe.

  • Matthew Shepard was MURDERED by a couple of bigoted assholes for nothing more than EXISTING WHILE GAY.

    Whether or not he was promiscuous, or a virgin, or somewhere in between is irrelevant to the discussion, and NOTHING he did in ANY way caused his death.

  • A lot of the Jesus imagery is… rather erotic.

  • Beatrice

    Help? By telling them to suppress who they are and instead to act the way his church deems appropriate because anything else is terrible and sinful.
    I see, he’s such a nice guy. I think gay people should be grateful that he is not actively asking for their murder or calling them abominations. Why again are we putting the entry level for “decent human being” category so much lower for religionists than others?

  • Gabrielsedberry

    I I’m a religious person. I’m up for real discussions. gabrielsedberry at gmail dot com

  • Evelyn Wagaman

    We’re not putting the entry level lower.  We are respecting the fact that Christians are living under the delusion that God exists and that He defines all morality for human beings.  These Christians oppose homosexuality, because even if human reasoning told them not to, it wouldn’t matter.  It’s all about what God says.  Christian “reasoning” locks believers in on so many levels, homosexuality just being one of them.  

    The only way for Christians to okay homosexuality without being hypocrites is for them to stop believing in the Bible.  Taking a liberal Christian viewpoint doesn’t hold up, since according to the Bible itself humans have no moral authority to discern which verses don’t apply anymore.  

    Because a belief in a Christian God is morally neutral from a nonbeliever’s standpoint (due to the aforementioned phenomenon of the Bible’s dismissal of innate human morality without God’s help), following the Bible is morally neutral as well.  As skeptics we must, of course, draw a line somewhere when someone is seriously being hurt.  But opposition to homosexuality in and of itself does not constitute serious hurt.

  • There is actually a proper way to read mythological literature. (I use Joseph Campbell’s definition of mythology, which is “Somebody else’s religion”) – and there is clearly a wrong way. For example, if you read ancient Egyptian mythology in terms of gods and goddesses, you are doing it wrong.

    You can argue relativism all you want, and certainly, many people across the ages have interpreted them as literal Gods and Goddesses (its more interesting that way) but that is not how the practitioners themselves saw it. They saw their gods and goddesses as representations of philosophical forces and divine laws, not as beings in and of themselves. Likewise, consider this parable. Suppose I make a cartoon show about talking vegetables teaching morality. A thousand years later, there are two camps of people. One half, which gets the most press, is focused on teaching the holy words of the vegetables, and ensuring people are educated about the ‘Holy Vegetable Creation’ … the other half, much more quiet, tries to teach morality, self-improvement, and imitation of the quality of character displayed as the theme of the cartoon. Which of those groups is correct? I think you could make a philosophical argument as to which is correct.

    Part of the reason religion is on the decline in this nation is that we primarily have -bad- religion in this country. Many agnostics and atheists are fed up with and disgusted by immoral, loud, political, ambitious hypocrites who don’t care at all about actually helping people and becoming better persons. Thats supposed to be the point of religion; overcoming who you are to improve yourself, endlessly, showing only humility and compassion the entire time. These activities usually result in happiness and a sense of peace and fulfillment. But religion in this country is no longer about this inner journey. Its about fighting for your political beliefs and trying to feel good. Its adolescent, and it rejects any notion of adulthood. Its not real religion, and I think that is obvious when you compare it to those who -are- religious and practice real religion.

    Look at St. Francis of Assisi, who gave up wealth to live in utter poverty, denying his own pleasures for the sake of others. Look at Mother Teresa. Look at Gandhi, who freed hundreds of millions through nonviolence. Look at the Dalai Llama. This is real religion. These people attract our attention and respect because of who they are and how they live their lives. The religious in America, however, want to attract attention based on what political causes they fight, what cultural battles they win. Its egotistical, and fake. I don’t even need to make an argument to dismiss it. I just need to point to those vibrant and real. Even if those people believe different things, or are imperfect, you can’t deny that what they have dedicated themselves to is something altogether different then what the fundamentalists in our country have dedicated themselves to.

    I could make some sort of long, detailed philosophical argument, invoking people like Heidegger and others of that sort, but I don’t think that would be getting at the real point.

  • No True Scotsman? Why do you get to decide what is “real religion” and what isn’t?

    I think we just fundamentally disagree on the nature of things. Personally, I don’t care how religious people come to interpret their religions. I would prefer that they interpret them in progressive, humanistic ways because I think that’s better for society, but I find their thought processes illogical no matter where they end up.

    I must take issue with what you wrote here:

    Part of the reason religion is on the decline in this nation is that we primarily have -bad- religion in this country. Many agnostics and atheists are fed up with and disgusted by immoral, loud, political, ambitious hypocrites who don’t care at all about actually helping people and becoming better persons.

    Actually, no. The vast majority of atheists simply don’t believe in the supernatural. I’m an atheist because I don’t see any evidence that gods and goddesses are real. How religious people behave has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of their religion. Of course I’d rather live with liberal Christians. They generally don’t try to legislate morality based on their religion. But don’t think for one moment that I agree with what they believe. Even though it’s much less harmful than fundamentalism, it’s still false, and in an ideal world, I would like to see people give up believing in false things.

    By the way, there are lots of atheists who would take exception to your pointing to Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama (and perhaps a few others in your list) as role models.

  • Jakewalker1022

    Well C Peterson this christian looks at the passages as a whole and not out of context. The best passage to end all arguing on this matter is 1john 5:17
    ALL iniquity is sin.
    Meanin if homosexuality is a sin and so is lying then a homosexual and a liar are equal in gods eyes.
    Men are equal
    Sin is equal
    Bottom line is you would rather insight confusion with your arguements rather than understand what you argue about.
    All will answer come judgement day
    Believe it or not that still does not alter the fact its true.

  • Aromulus

    Echo Chamber. 

    Many voices but only response to the question at hand.

  • Jessie

    I find it ironic that Hemant Mehta stops at 6:9-10. Let me remind you:  everyone is a sinner and no one can live a perfectly holy, righteous life, so technically, we are ALL meant to not inherit the kingdom of God.

    I just read the NEXT verse AFTER the one Hemant Metha mentioned, 1 Corinthians 6:11, which states: “And that is what some of you were. BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” I don’t think that is sugarcoating anything. I think that verse conveys regardless of your sins, you ARE sanctified and justified IN THE NAME of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. If you are justified in the name of someone, something or some being, that implies you BELIEVE/TRUST in that someone, something, or some being. And when you genuinely believe and trust, in this case, that Jesus Christ is your Savior, you will be declared not guilty but righteous. It is through Christ that you are saved. 
    It’s hard to believe Metha missed that passage when he was writing this piece…but, you know, why include it when it goes against his narrative? That would be too honest. :)And don’t worry, I am not trying to say the Bible should be taken as literal truth. Of course not. The Bible is full of parables, SIMPLE stories to provide moral/spiritual lessons.  But in this case, the verse RIGHT AFTER the quoted one explicitly states how you are sanctified and justified when you put your trust in Jesus. Bottom line: That 1 Corinthians 6:11 verse (detailing regardless of whatever sins you have committed and will commit, when you put your trust in Jesus, you are “washed” and “justified” and can be given entrance into God’s Kingdom) is a recurring theme throughout the Bible’s parables and stories. We are all sinners, and it is when we entrust Jesus and believe him as our Savior for dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins….THAT is what will overcome the neither these ppl nor those people will inherit the kingdom of God. Regardless if you are Christian or Atheist, I think we can agree that is the message with regards to homosexuals or any sinners (aka everyone) for that matter. It is not saying God will “fix” them, but he will declare them righteous and not guilty if they put their trust in God.

  • TomS

    No, Jesse, we can’t agree, for the reason I stated in my post below.  You start from the conclusion that homosexuality is immoral, and read the text in a way that supports your position, rather than actually reading the text objectively.  “Proof-texting” gives no unambiguous answer on this topic.  

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