“for the Bible tells me so” — documentary on homosexuality

21 Replies

Front Page Tough Questions

UPDATE: This film has been posted to YouTube if you want to watch it. link

Tonight, our life group skipped our normal routine to watch a documentary purportedly on the relationship between homosexuality and religion called For the Bible Tells Me So However, the documentary was actually on the relationship between homosexuality and the conservative/fundamentalist “Christian right.”

Basically, the title calls to mind the song Jesus Loves Me (which should communicate that God loves us) in contrast to the words of those who would claim homosexuality is an “abomination” simply because “the Bible tells me so.”

Since I have already written a few articles on the topic, I won’t take the time to rehash my position. However, I need to make a couple comments.

The major claims of the film were these:

  1. The Bible doesn’t actually oppose homosexuality.
  2. Sexual orientation is an inborn condition and cannot be changed.
  3. Love and sex go together.
  4. Opponents of homosexuality are dangerous to society and should be stopped.

Let me briefly address these claims:

1. “The Bible doesn’t actually oppose homosexuality.”

Basically, the full claim from the movie is that the passages in the Bible addressing homosexuality are not relevant for today because they have been mistranslated, misunderstood, or misapplied. However, I could make the same claim about the way the documentary dealt with the Bible. It’s always possible to reshape the text of the Bible to support a person’s convictions, but there’s one biblical truth that overshadows them all: People are helpless sinners, ignorant of God and his will, and we need the forgiveness and restoration made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross. Our propensity to sin will always lead us to reinterpret what we read in the direction of our greatest comfort. Therefore, the best course of action is the one which involves the least amount of “interpretation” possible.

2. “Sexual orientation is inborn and can’t be changed.”

I partially agree with this statement. I agree that humans have many different temptations. I agree that some people are tempted by drink, some by drugs, some by power, some by heterosexual relations, and some by homosexual relations. I also believe that a person’s predominant temptations are unlikely to change throughout life.

However, regardless of the style or intensity of temptation, we can resist. We are not animals.

3. “Love and sex go together.”

Our society has blended love and sex so closely as to make them indistinguishable (sometimes). Our culture will allow for sex without love (among consenting adults) but can’t imagine love without sex.

Of course, it does not need to be this way, and in fact, it should not be. I find it dangerous to connect the two closely. Many women have fallen for the guy’s request “if you love me, you’ll sleep with me.”

4. “Opponents to homosexuality are dangerous and should be stopped.”

Of course, this is the sentence that scares me the most because it’s easy to replace words:

  • Opponents of the President are dangerous and should be stopped.
  • Opponents of Free Speech are dangerous and should be stopped.
  • Opponents of secular humanism are dangerous and should be stopped.

It scares me because it characterizes me as a member of a class that is dangerous as a whole. It scares me because it labels me as someone worth discriminating against.

Conclusion

I wish this post were more articulate and more carefully written, but I want to get my response out now so the conversation can flow more quickly.

Have any of you seen the film? What did you think?

21 comments

  1. Dave Hynes

    Jeff,
    I saw a blurb about this movie (basically a general invite) on Facebook. I looked at the web site for it since my suspicions were aroused – both from the title of the movie and from the brief description. The movie uses what I deem a typical tactic to get Christians to change their minds – ‘let’s foster discussion’. The two group discussion materials were in stark contrast to each other. One was for ‘moderate/conservative’ groups and was 6 or 7 pages of plain, typed text, with a section on how to handle disruptive people. The other was something like ‘HRC version’ or something like that; once I opened it I realized HRC stands for Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay advocacy group. In fact, the first page actually had the word ‘advocacy’ at the top. Anyway, this second discussion guide was around 70 pages long, with lots of color photos and text. If I had to judge one’s intent by the effort they put in to something, I would guess that this whole event was not to foster discussion, but to advocate for gay acceptance.

    I was rather disturbed by what I saw – a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to get Christians to accept homosexuality. I was even more disturbed that the person who posted the info was a Christian. Needless to say, I have been thinking about a loving way to state how wrong this information is. Your prayers are appreciated.

    -Dave

    PS – I find it rather ironic/hypocritical/enter-other-word-here that people who accuse others of misusing scripture are themselves doing it.

  2. ben

    Quite sure you’ll censor this comment (as Christians do love their censorship so), but I find it quite hilarious (in a completely non-laughable way) just how different our view of the “bullet-points” of this movie are. First, I should tell you my background (as it should give you a little insight, and less judgmental ammunition, about my perspective) – I am the son of a pastor. I grew up in the church, and by that I mean, “went-to-church-three-times-a-week grew up.” Unlike the VAST majority of Christians, I’ve actually read the Bible – several times over – and have not just been spoon-fed what it “says.” My father made sure that not only did I actually READ what was written, but had a comprehensive (as comprehensive as one could be expected to have) understanding of it.

    1. You’re almost right about their mis-interpretations of the text. The Bible is, indeed, against homosexuality (or vaguely, anyway) – in Leviticus, of course. Your go-to verse. Naturally, Christians do not view this verse in any kind of historical context, and since it is in the Old Testament, it is a perfect verse to cherry-pick. After all, you would never sleep with your brothers wife, as that would be an awful sin, but in Genesis 38:8-10, it appears it was more of a sin NOT to. Before you get to jumping in on that one, I am using it as an example because I understand its historical context, but Christians are quick to toss away anything they feel “doesn’t apply today” if it’s from the Old Testament. After all, Jesus abolished many of the “laws” set forth from the first doctrine. Christians, like I said before, love to cherry-pick the Old Testament. You will find nothing (without some pretty serious twisting) that even addresses homosexuality (directly) in the New Testament.

    2. You technically agree with this, and for that, I have to commend you. It’s pretty rare for a Christian to see things clearly, and it’s pretty clear that no one would “choose” to live a life of isolation, estranged from their family and friends (especially if they are Christian before-hand, because we all know how judgmental Christians love to be). The movie pretty clearly documented how much pain and anguish, isolation, depression and internal anguish these people felt before finally ACCEPTING who they were. While you make a valid point, we are not animals, I counter with: “would a truly loving God create you with such a ‘boil on your soul’ and ask you to NOT be yourself – when not being yourself is far harder for you than the ‘average person?'” Before you start in on the Job stuff, bear in mind just how different that situation was.

    3. I really don’t even need to touch on this one. Honestly, this is a no-brainer. There’s plenty of prostitution in the Bible (not saying that’s love), but the desire for sex is as old as time. The point I’m worried about is how you drew this conclusion at all from this film. I don’t recall the subjects, or their parents, or anyone for that matter, drawing the conclusion that “love and sex go together” (even if they do). Which leads me to…

    4. This is spot-the-hell on. Why? Because Christian rhetoric is VERY dangerous to our society. You have posted this blog, informing other people of the contents of this film (99% of your readers will NEVER watch it for themselves, and form their opinions solely off of yours – gotta love willful sheep). This is how things like Westboro Baptist Church happen. You say “I saw this film, this is what it said.” You, unfortunately, have NOT portrayed the film correctly, and therefore everyone that reads this (and, in typical Christan fashion, does not actually draw their own conclusion), will take your conclusions and make them your own. So now you’ve incorrectly influenced X number of people, who will in turn influence X number of people, etc. etc. Folks like the 700 Club and Focus on the Family are certainly more powerful than you, but even on a micro-level, deceit and mis-information can spread like wildfire.

    In conclusion, while this post is surely not to be viewed by anyone but you (and likely not even read thoroughly), I hope that one day you have the insight to realize that you are, quite literally, a dangerous person. And that your rhetoric, and will to OPPRESS and CONTROL the will of others is quite against your own doctrine. I have never once in my life met a Christian that can “smell the stink of their own crap” (so to speak), and will likely further spark your hatred (another common Christian trait against your doctrine), I can only faintly hope that perhaps, even if just a little, your judgment and belief that you “know” what you clearly do not will fade.

    Sadly, you cannot reason with the unreasonable, and Christians are taught from an early age to be unreasonable. I can only thank whatever true god that exists (if any does) that I had enough intellect and will to know the REAL truth to get out of the church before I became a sucker like you.

    Just remember that you do not KNOW what the afterlife holds. You only have your OPINION and your BELIEF, but you do not have any REAL knowledge – as you have not yet died, you have not yet experienced life (if there is any) after death, and therefore cannot be an authority on the subject. Remember who you are. Remember that we are ALL human – no matter what race, nationality or religion – and that we are all seeking to find the “right way” (again, if there is any).

    I did enjoy reading your post, and I hope you at least took the time to read mine, even if it will never grace your website (after all, we wouldn’t want any actual thoughts to invade the mind of any Christians that happen to wander in).

    I have no hate for you (though I’m sure you do for me, though you’d never admit it). But yes, I do feel you and your rhetoric are dangerous, and can only divide – not coalesce.

    God (whoever, whatever, he/she is) bless you, and have a lovely day/life.

  3. ben

    I should also note that I am closer to home for you than you think. I was raised in Indiana (like you, I presume) and my father is Dennis Voegele, who was the pastor at Woodburn Missionary Church in Woodburn, Indiana, Hope Missionary Church in Bluffton, Indiana, and (until recently) taught the Seniors Bible Study Class at Grabill Missionary Church in Grabill, Indiana. I’m sure he wouldn’t be thrilled that I’m posting his name and previous employers on your site, but I want you to know that I am always 100% honest – another trait Christians have a hard time with – and that an incredibly large portion of my ethos is based on the teachings of the Bible. I do not believe that Jesus was the savior, and therefore, I do not believe that Christianity is the correct religion (in fact, I don’t believe any of them are). I have spent a good portion of my adult life fighting Christians, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you are, as the Bible quite literally asks you to be, nothing but sheep. And so, I sympathize for you more than I despise you. I am slightly encouraged by the fact that Christians have become more tolerant – WOW! Christians actually following an order from the Bible! WOW! – but your lot still has a long, long way to go. I’ve only posted this response today because you are not helping in that step forward, Jeff. I have not (nor will I ever, unless personally invited and promised of no berating) attend your church or meet your congregation, but I can only hope that you will not further lead “your flock” astray like you have attempted to do here. Having on blinders was never a part of Christianity, and though it’s become rather commonplace, I’m hoping whatever little intellect you have prevents you from doing so any further. I would love to discuss this with you more, but doubt that possibility exists. After all, you’d have to take some classes from Kirk Cameron so you can “navigate around [my] intellect” first, but I welcome any and all Christians to use their own doctrine against me. Sadly for you, I tend to have more knowledge of it than you, and can return the fire. I aim not to convince you against what you already blindly believe, but rather, to lead you more toward what your own doctrine commands you to believe. You have failed to do that here, Jeff. I hope in the future you are more mindful of your “interpretations” and can only pray (theoretically, of course) that you “come to the light” in the future.

  4. ben

    One last thing (promise I’m done making you have to delete all of these), your friend Dave above is a shining, perfect example of what I’m talking about. What he REALLY MEANT to ask was “how do I find a way to be intolerant but come off as loving?” Well…maybe God will tell you when you pray. Maybe you’ll also be the first person (oh, since the Bible, of course) to actually hear the voice of God commanding you to do something. Maybe God will tell you who to vote for, too, right? (Don’t worry, it’s a Republican candidate of some kind – even if he did get caught getting his knob slobbed by some dude in an airport bathroom stall). Dave is a great example of how judgmental and hypocritical your religion is. I ask, Dave, if this soon-to-be-deleted response ever makes it your way, what does it matter if a “Christian” set up the site? Where in the Bible does it ask for your intolerance? Where does it ask for your judgment and sanctimonious views? If you find the verse, for the love of whatever’s holy, please forward it my way. In my years of study, I sure haven’t found it myself.

  5. Jeff Post author

    @ben …

    I can tell you are deeply, deeply wounded by something in your past regarding Christianity. It shows in the terribly negative view you have of me. I intend to send you this reply by email, but it goes here too.

    Indulge me for a moment to quote you:

    Quite sure you’ll censor this comment (as Christians do love their censorship so)…

    …in Leviticus, of course. Your go-to verse…

    …It’s pretty rare for a Christian to see things clearly…

    …Christian rhetoric is VERY dangerous to our society.

    …while this post is surely not to be viewed by anyone but you (and likely not even read thoroughly)…

    …your rhetoric, and will to OPPRESS and CONTROL the will of others…

    …I have never once in my life met a Christian that can “smell the stink of their own crap” (so to speak)…

    …I hope you at least took the time to read mine, even if it will never grace your website (after all, we wouldn’t want any actual thoughts to invade the mind of any Christians that happen to wander in)….

    …I have no hate for you (though I’m sure you do for me, though you’d never admit it).

    …I am always 100% honest – another trait Christians have a hard time with…

    …I have spent a good portion of my adult life fighting Christians…

    …I would love to discuss this with you more, but doubt that possibility exists.

    …I welcome any and all Christians to use their own doctrine against me. Sadly for you, I tend to have more knowledge of it than you, and can return the fire…

    …what you already blindly believe…

    …One last thing (promise I’m done making you have to delete all of these)…

    …I ask, Dave, if this soon-to-be-deleted response…

    I am bothered by the fact that you presume me to be an irrational, censoring, bigot who wants to control the mind of others and is unwilling to engage in rational thought or discourse.

    On the contrary, I was raised in southern California, lived in Chicago, Denver, and Lafayette, Indiana, attended a liberal arts college, majored in Mathematics and Philosophy, and as a result, I am an eclectic soul thoroughly motivated to talk logic, rationality, and theology with anyone. The fact that I have developed firm convictions of the truth of the Bible should not offend you. I have the right to come to my own logical conclusions, do I not?

    So, engaging you in logical discourse, let me respond to a few more of your statements.

    You have posted this blog, informing other people of the contents of this film (99% of your readers will NEVER watch it for themselves, and form their opinions solely off of yours – gotta love willful sheep).

    I would love to have the people in my circle of friends watch this film. In fact, I just found it on YouTube: part 1, playlist of all parts.

    I hope that one day you have the insight to realize that you are, quite literally, a dangerous person.

    I know I’m dangerous. I have influence that few people ever have. I have a captive audience every Sunday, plus I have the Internet at my disposal. Therefore, I work hard to make sure my influence is used solely to promote the name and cause of Jesus. I know you think that’s a bad thing to be doing, but I think it’s the most important thing to be doing.

    Sadly, you cannot reason with the unreasonable, and Christians are taught from an early age to be unreasonable. I can only thank whatever true god that exists (if any does) that I had enough intellect and will to know the REAL truth to get out of the church before I became a sucker like you.

    Calling me a sucker doesn’t actually make your case any more logically sound. In fact, it makes you sound “unreasonable.” If you can’t grant that I might have rationality, then you are being unreasonable, and I think it would be healthy for you to change your mindset on that.

    Just remember that you do not KNOW what the afterlife holds. You only have your OPINION and your BELIEF, but you do not have any REAL knowledge – as you have not yet died, you have not yet experienced life (if there is any) after death, and therefore cannot be an authority on the subject. Remember who you are. Remember that we are ALL human – no matter what race, nationality or religion – and that we are all seeking to find the “right way” (again, if there is any).

    You are right. I don’t know what the afterlife holds, that’s the main reason I follow Jesus. He’s been there. And back! I don’t know if you believe in the historicity of the resurrection, but I do, and it the foundation for every other belief I hold.

    I have not (nor will I ever, unless personally invited and promised of no berating) attend your church or meet your congregation,

    I hereby invite you with the firm promise of no berating to attend my church once. You may do so online if you wish lafayettecommunitychurch.com, but I’d prefer you come in person.

    Finally, I sincerely apologize for my brothers and sisters who have wounded you. They did you wrong. Please forgive me. Please forgive them. Do not pity those who believe. Pity those who don’t think. And please grant me the freedom to both think and believe.

  6. ben

    Jeff,

    While I respect that you have the gonads to step up to the plate and not only respond to me directly, and also leave my comments unaltered, you also did not respond to many of my “quotes” above. More concerning is that you did not address in any way, shape, or form YOUR misinterpretations and subsequent review of this film. You honed in directly on my “deep deep wounds” instead of sticking to the topic at hand. Why does every former Christian have to be “deeply wounded” to turn away from a clearly archaic and barbaric doctrine? Why do I have to be “deeply wounded” to realize that a text that was not only written thousands of years ago, but altered HEAVILY in the translation process, impossible to be the “direct word of God?” Right. Everyone who sees things clearly and logically must certainly be “deeply wounded.”

    Well Jeff, I’m going to have to disagree with you there. The only “deep wounds” I received at the church was when I was five, and was running around with one of the members of the youth group and ran into a bookshelf, gashing my forehead and requiring stitches. Beyond that, I wasn’t abused or ridiculed or hated and in turn, decided to lash out. When I was old enough to make my own decisions regarding Christianity, I gave it a very close look, and found it to be intolerant, rife with hypocrisy, basically devoid of thought, and quite frankly ugly in its arrogance and will to control the actions and thoughts of others. A pretty brief look at the history of your religion and the barbaric and awful things that have been done in its name, and I really didn’t need much more to see that your religion has a long, long history of being dangerous.

    But I’m not going to flood your page with the truth (you know, the things that can actually be proven, not just surmised or required to have “faith in”), instead, I would prefer you actually address the important points of my post, and not fish for some kind of “deep wound” on my soul. While you may be more intelligent than your average Christian (sure, I’ll give you that), you’re not going to fool me with smoke screens and diversion of the topic at hand.

    So I guess I’ll try again here.

    Jeff, WHY have you willfully led your “flock” astray and so grossly misinterpreted this film? I have made several points above that you can reference if you do not remember your misinterpretations.

  7. Jeff Post author

    Thanks Ben,

    I concluded that you had been wounded because of the rancor with which you characterize Christians. I haven’t often met people as aggressively critical and harsh as you who weren’t in some way hurt.

    However, your story of running into a bookshelf at church brought back humorous memories of my own youth group days.

    Anyway, here are my comments directly related to your first statements above:

    First, you and I agree that the film misrepresents the teaching of the Bible. The Bible does prohibit all sexual behavior outside of marriage, and there is no indication that same-sex marriage was considered to fall under the umbrella of “marriage” in the Bible. Every reference to marriage, every marriage law in the Bible presupposes a heterosexual relationship. Therefore, though the Bible never speaks directly to same-sex marriage (a modern creation) or even monogamous, lifelong homosexuality, the Bible speaks directly against homosexual lust and intercourse. The film never addressed that, and so I have not misrepresented the film on that point.

    Secondly, regarding my second point above, you said:

    I counter with: “would a truly loving God create you with such a ‘boil on your soul’ and ask you to NOT be yourself – when not being yourself is far harder for you than the ‘average person?’” Before you start in on the Job stuff, bear in mind just how different that situation was.

    Would a truly loving God create a person without a pretty face? Would a truly loving God create a person without athletic ability? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a foot? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a working heart-valve? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a brain? Your question is irrational, because we don’t know what true love is, how God makes decisions or what a “truly loving God” would ever do. On the line from anencephaly to Miss Universe, where do we put the mark that says, “A loving God would go this far, but no further”?

    I don’t have the right to determine what a loving God might or might not do.

    Regarding your third point:

    The point I’m worried about is how you drew this conclusion at all from this film. I don’t recall the subjects, or their parents, or anyone for that matter, drawing the conclusion that “love and sex go together” (even if they do).

    I agree with you that no subject to my memory made this direct conclusion. However, the film exclusively focused on the rights of people to love whomever they wished to love. I agree with that. People should, in fact, love everyone! I drew the conclusion by the fact that the film is promoting tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage based on people’s rights to love anyone they wish. I assumed the film meant that homosexual intimate behavior was also to be condoned and accepted. I could be wrong in that.

    Specifically, if the homosexuals profiled in the film were being sexually celibate, then I have misunderstood and misrepresented the film.

    Bottom line, I assumed the film was promoting homosexuality as a viably alternate sexual lifestyle but they were doing so by using the language of “love.” My statement above was merely trying to draw out the fact that we should make a distinction between the language of love and the language of sex.

    Your last statement:

    Christian rhetoric is VERY dangerous to our society. You have posted this blog, informing other people of the contents of this film (99% of your readers will NEVER watch it for themselves, and form their opinions solely off of yours – gotta love willful sheep). This is how things like Westboro Baptist Church happen. You say “I saw this film, this is what it said.” You, unfortunately, have NOT portrayed the film correctly, and therefore everyone that reads this (and, in typical Christan fashion, does not actually draw their own conclusion), will take your conclusions and make them your own. So now you’ve incorrectly influenced X number of people, who will in turn influence X number of people, etc. etc. Folks like the 700 Club and Focus on the Family are certainly more powerful than you, but even on a micro-level, deceit and mis-information can spread like wildfire.

    I have not misrepresented the film, and I oppose the behavior of Westboro Baptist Church.

    What else would you like me to address?

  8. ben

    EDITED: Ben, I edited the formatting of this comment so that your words and mine would stand apart from each other.

    I concluded that you had been wounded because of the rancor with which you characterize Christians. I haven’t often met people as aggressively critical and harsh as you who weren’t in some way hurt.

    I’m not surprised you can make conclusions without any facts to back them up, because that’s something Christians are great at, isn’t it? I am aggressively critical and harsh because Christians are equally aggressively critical and harsh. You always love to say “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but I have yet to find any “love” being displayed in your opposition to things that you don’t believe. I don’t want to limit this to homosexuality, but that is the topic at hand and I can stick to it. We can address things like abortion, separation of church and state, and censorship on another day.

    However, your story of running into a bookshelf at church brought back humorous memories of my own youth group days.

    Anyway, here are my comments directly related to your first statements above:

    First, you and I agree that the film misrepresents the teaching of the Bible. The Bible does prohibit all sexual behavior outside of marriage, and there is no indication that same-sex marriage was considered to fall under the umbrella of “marriage” in the Bible. Every reference to marriage, every marriage law in the Bible presupposes a heterosexual relationship. Therefore, though the Bible never speaks directly to same-sex marriage (a modern creation) or even monogamous, lifelong homosexuality, the Bible speaks directly against homosexual lust and intercourse. The film never addressed that, and so I have not misrepresented the film on that point.

    We actually do not agree entirely on this, Jeff. I agree that in Leviticus, it states that it is an “abomination” for a man to lay with another man. However, as I stated previously, Christians do not ever look at the historical context of a verse (or the entire Bible, for that matter). During those times, the word that we’ve translated to say “abomination” was, in fact, a word that meant “abnormal” or “unnatural.” I believe even homosexuals will admit that their sexual preference is abnormal, and perhaps even unnatural. While I realize the frailty of this example, I am left-handed, and it is certainly abnormal and often-times unnatural. And like many parents do, mine made every attempt to “make me” right-handed. Well, I do a few things with my right hand (like shoot a basketball or bowl – both miserably), I have no control over my preference of hand. I’m just better at most things with my left.

    Secondly, regarding my second point above, you said:

    I counter with: “would a truly loving God create you with such a ‘boil on your soul’ and ask you to NOT be yourself – when not being yourself is far harder for you than the ‘average person?’” Before you start in on the Job stuff, bear in mind just how different that situation was.

    Would a truly loving God create a person without a pretty face? Would a truly loving God create a person without athletic ability? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a foot? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a working heart-valve? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a brain? Your question is irrational, because we don’t know what true love is, how God makes decisions or what a “truly loving God” would ever do. On the line from anencephaly to Miss Universe, where do we put the mark that says, “A loving God would go this far, but no further”?

    I don’t have the right to determine what a loving God might or might not do.

    I would posit, that no, a loving God does not do any of those things. One of the many reasons why I do not believe in a “God” as you define one. I openly and proudly claim that I DO NOT KNOW about the existence of a diety. And do not presume to know, and therefore do not feel obligated to make everyone accept my “knowledge” and do not have the will to force my beliefs and codes of conduct on them.

    Regarding your third point:

    The point I’m worried about is how you drew this conclusion at all from this film. I don’t recall the subjects, or their parents, or anyone for that matter, drawing the conclusion that “love and sex go together” (even if they do).

    I agree with you that no subject to my memory made this direct conclusion. However, the film exclusively focused on the rights of people to love whomever they wished to love. I agree with that. People should, in fact, love everyone! I drew the conclusion by the fact that the film is promoting tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage based on people’s rights to love anyone they wish. I assumed the film meant that homosexual intimate behavior was also to be condoned and accepted. I could be wrong in that.

    Specifically, if the homosexuals profiled in the film were being sexually celibate, then I have misunderstood and misrepresented the film.

    Bottom line, I assumed the film was promoting homosexuality as a viably alternate sexual lifestyle but they were doing so by using the language of “love.” My statement above was merely trying to draw out the fact that we should make a distinction between the language of love and the language of sex.

    I move that we drop this one, as it’s open entirely to interpretation (a lot like the Bible). The film itself did not touch much on the act of sexual intercourse, and certainly not in any kind of detail. I saw the film 8 months ago and do not recall every passing statement in its entirety. I agree that people should love everyone, though. Whole-heartedly. But also accept its impossibility.

    Your last statement:

    Christian rhetoric is VERY dangerous to our society. You have posted this blog, informing other people of the contents of this film (99% of your readers will NEVER watch it for themselves, and form their opinions solely off of yours – gotta love willful sheep). This is how things like Westboro Baptist Church happen. You say “I saw this film, this is what it said.” You, unfortunately, have NOT portrayed the film correctly, and therefore everyone that reads this (and, in typical Christan fashion, does not actually draw their own conclusion), will take your conclusions and make them your own. So now you’ve incorrectly influenced X number of people, who will in turn influence X number of people, etc. etc. Folks like the 700 Club and Focus on the Family are certainly more powerful than you, but even on a micro-level, deceit and mis-information can spread like wildfire.

    I have not misrepresented the film, and I oppose the behavior of Westboro Baptist Church.

    Oh how I wish the extent of danger of your religion’s rhetoric started and ended with Westboro. Because luckily, their influence is actually very small, and the vast majority of Christians do not support or agree with their behavior, and if it were 30 years ago, we would have never even heard of this church. The New Media’s love of the sensational, and the wide accessability of the Internet, are really the only two reasons we even know they exist. I am concerned though with groups like Focus on the Family and the 700 Club, who do have a wide range of influence. I would like to make another point to add on from earlier. I oppose all religious forms of oppression, which nearly all religions possess. I focus on Christians because their doctrine is one I am intimately familiar with, and most usually more knowledgable in, and they have the widest range of influence in this, the country that I live in. If such a thing as a soul exists, and such a thing were to be “you” no matter who “you” were or where “you” were, I would imagine that if I were Indian, I would be opposing Hindu with as much veracity and knowledge. Luckily I am American, so I’m more able to freely state my views and fight your agenda. Thankfully for the annonymity of the Internet, so are many others of countries that have more religious oppression than ours.

    What else would you like me to address?

    Regarding the film, nothing.

  9. ben

    I apologize, I thought my responses were going to be separated from yours, but it instead came out as one uniformed response, making it very difficult to read. My mistake and apologies. I’m not as adept with HTML as most of my peers.

  10. ben

    Ugh, this is muddling things, but I would like to try this again. If this works, it would be fine to delete my previous postings. In fact, I think we both prefer you do! 😀

    I concluded that you had been wounded because of the rancor with which you characterize Christians. I haven’t often met people as aggressively critical and harsh as you who weren’t in some way hurt.

    I’m not surprised you can make conclusions without any facts to back them up, because that’s something Christians are great at, isn’t it? I am aggressively critical and harsh because Christians are equally aggressively critical and harsh. You always love to say “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but I have yet to find any “love” being displayed in your opposition to things that you don’t believe. I don’t want to limit this to homosexuality, but that is the topic at hand and I can stick to it. We can address things like abortion, separation of church and state, and censorship on another day.

    First, you and I agree that the film misrepresents the teaching of the Bible. The Bible does prohibit all sexual behavior outside of marriage, and there is no indication that same-sex marriage was considered to fall under the umbrella of “marriage” in the Bible. Every reference to marriage, every marriage law in the Bible presupposes a heterosexual relationship. Therefore, though the Bible never speaks directly to same-sex marriage (a modern creation) or even monogamous, lifelong homosexuality, the Bible speaks directly against homosexual lust and intercourse. The film never addressed that, and so I have not misrepresented the film on that point.

    We actually do not agree entirely on this, Jeff. I agree that in Leviticus, it states that it is an “abomination” for a man to lay with another man. However, as I stated previously, Christians do not ever look at the historical context of a verse (or the entire Bible, for that matter). During those times, the word that we’ve translated to say “abomination” was, in fact, a word that meant “abnormal” or “unnatural.” I believe even homosexuals will admit that their sexual preference is abnormal, and perhaps even unnatural. While I realize the frailty of this example, I am left-handed, and it is certainly abnormal and often-times unnatural. And like many parents do, mine made every attempt to “make me” right-handed. Well, I do a few things with my right hand (like shoot a basketball or bowl – both miserably), I have no control over my preference of hand. I’m just better at most things with my left.

    Would a truly loving God create a person without a pretty face? Would a truly loving God create a person without athletic ability? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a foot? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a working heart-valve? Would a truly loving God create an infant without a brain? Your question is irrational, because we don’t know what true love is, how God makes decisions or what a “truly loving God” would ever do. On the line from anencephaly to Miss Universe, where do we put the mark that says, “A loving God would go this far, but no further”?

    I would posit, that no, a loving God does not do any of those things. One of the many reasons why I do not believe in a “God” as you define one. I openly and proudly claim that I DO NOT KNOW about the existence of a diety. And do not presume to know, and therefore do not feel obligated to make everyone accept my “knowledge” and do not have the will to force my beliefs and codes of conduct on them.

    I agree with you that no subject to my memory made this direct conclusion. However, the film exclusively focused on the rights of people to love whomever they wished to love. I agree with that. People should, in fact, love everyone! I drew the conclusion by the fact that the film is promoting tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage based on people’s rights to love anyone they wish. I assumed the film meant that homosexual intimate behavior was also to be condoned and accepted. I could be wrong in that.

    Specifically, if the homosexuals profiled in the film were being sexually celibate, then I have misunderstood and misrepresented the film.

    Bottom line, I assumed the film was promoting homosexuality as a viably alternate sexual lifestyle but they were doing so by using the language of “love.” My statement above was merely trying to draw out the fact that we should make a distinction between the language of love and the language of sex.

    I move that we drop this one, as it’s open entirely to interpretation (a lot like the Bible). The film itself did not touch much on the act of sexual intercourse, and certainly not in any kind of detail. I saw the film 8 months ago and do not recall every passing statement in its entirety. I agree that people should love everyone, though. Whole-heartedly. But also accept its impossibility.

    I have not misrepresented the film, and I oppose the behavior of Westboro Baptist Church.

    Oh how I wish the extent of danger of your religion’s rhetoric started and ended with Westboro. Because luckily, their influence is actually very small, and the vast majority of Christians do not support or agree with their behavior, and if it were 30 years ago, we would have never even heard of this church. The New Media’s love of the sensational, and the wide accessability of the Internet, are really the only two reasons we even know they exist. I am concerned though with groups like Focus on the Family and the 700 Club, who do have a wide range of influence. I would like to make another point to add on from earlier. I oppose all religious forms of oppression, which nearly all religions possess. I focus on Christians because their doctrine is one I am intimately familiar with, and most usually more knowledgable in, and they have the widest range of influence in this, the country that I live in. If such a thing as a soul exists, and such a thing were to be “you” no matter who “you” were or where “you” were, I would imagine that if I were Indian, I would be opposing Hindu with as much veracity and knowledge. Luckily I am American, so I’m more able to freely state my views and fight your agenda. Thankfully for the annonymity of the Internet, so are many others of countries that have more religious oppression than ours.

    What else would you like me to address?

    Regarding the film, nothing.

  11. ben

    And I missed a great point you made, Jeff, and I apologize for not responding appropriately.

    The Bible does prohibit all sexual behavior outside of marriage, and there is no indication that same-sex marriage was considered to fall under the umbrella of “marriage” in the Bible. Every reference to marriage, every marriage law in the Bible presupposes a heterosexual relationship. Therefore, though the Bible never speaks directly to same-sex marriage (a modern creation) or even monogamous, lifelong homosexuality…

    You are absolutely correct! The Bible does not allude to marriage in any other form but between a male and a female. That’s it! No gray area there! But it brings up an excellent point about the archaic nature of your doctrine. Christians do love to oppose the theory of Evolution (though Genesis never does touch on exactly HOW “God” created the Earth, which does not exclude the possibility that science and religion can actually converge comfortably on this one), but to deny that humans themselves are evolving, would be…well, willfully ignorant. We are getting physically larger and our adaptations to our environment are getting increasingly more complex. One could very easily argue (on both sides, really) that our mentality is evolving. I personally feel that the perceived increase in homosexuality (if indeed, such an increase exists, as many people in more oppressed times would simply “suck it up” and live heterosexually), would be perhaps…and evolutionary adaptation? Our Earth is very closely reaching max capacity, and cannot handle the amount of humans that inhabit it. I personally feel it’s irresponsible to have more than one child, even if you can afford to have them, because you are just adding more people to a vessel that simply cannot support their weight (theoretically speaking). To be perfectly honest, I don’t have any gay friends, and I’m not even sure I know any personally, believe it or not, but I’m happy they’re “here and queer!” because they’re not going to be personally contributing to the planet, and we might be able to stick around long enough to figure out how to get to where we’re going next before we overpopulate this place to the point of our own extinction.

  12. Jeff Post author

    @ben

    Thanks again for your comments on my blog. Though I disagree with what you say and often how you say it, I’m flattered that you would give me so much of your time.

    I’m not sure there’s anything more productive for us to discuss but I was fascinated at your musing that homosexuality might be an evolutionary adaptation for population control, and I would bring up a similar musing that perhaps euthanasia is an “evolutionary” adaptation. In fact, considering the animal world, it’s amazing that natural selection ever brought us to the point of abandoning cannibalism, adopting altruism, and trying to give everyone adequate healthcare. If we got rid of altruism, population growth would cease to be a problem.

    Frankly, if we really believed natural selection brought us this far, why wouldn’t we want to let it continue to do its work? Let the weak die, right?


    Finally, I want to say that I’m stunned at your aggressiveness with me when in fact you have no gay friends and don’t even know any. Your knowledge of their plight is purely theoretical. I, however, have been quite close with five men who at some point in our relationship confessed to me that they were gay. One of them actually told me he was in love with me, one of them is currently married with a child, one of them is choosing to live a single life, one of them is personally undecided, and the other would likely marry his partner if it were legal.

    This issue is deeply personal to me because I have friends I love who struggle with their own temptations. I believe the Bible gives practical and loving guidance, and I have offered it to each of them, and they are still my friends.

    Please don’t accuse me of hate, ignorance, or dangerous rhetoric.

    I agree that religion is often used as a weapon, but remember that sharp blades can kill or heal depending on the hand that wields them. I believe the Bible is a sharp blade, and I intend for my ministry to be more scalpel and less machete.

  13. ben

    Jeff,

    You could have just deleted the previous entry of mine, as I already made the separations, but that’s fine. Hey, it’s your page.

    I’m glad you were amused by my comments regarding homosexuality as an evolutionary adaptation. I found it rather amusing as well, which is why I added it. Unfortunately, text does not contain tone, and I ran the risk of having you take my joke literally. I feel you have enough insight to know I was joking, though. However, I DO think that euthanasia is very necessary for our planet, just as I feel that abortion is also very important. I realize because of your religion you are “pro-life,” although I call your lot “pro-birth” since all you seem to do after the child is born is complain about them being on welfare and taking up your tax dollars. I find it funny how Christians never seem to connect the two. Rich people don’t have abortions. And people that don’t want children that are talked into it by your kind end up resenting their “mistakes” in the long run. For every “I wish I hadn’t had an abortion” story, there are scores more regretful, bitter parents who frankly have no right reproducing and are horrible parents, that end up raising kids that have far more to overcome than the average kid. In a world that is at max capacity, I salute every woman brave enough to walk past your angry, hateful picket lines to make a RESPONSIBLE decision to get rid of an unwanted or unable-to-be-supported child. You’d like to make a claim that adoption is a viable option here, I know, but you might as well save it. We both know the process is not only long and strenuous, but also quite selfish, really, given that we have scores of depraved children in far less fortunate countries that families should be choosing from. Not to mention the fact that your kind believes that those who cannot be held accountable are given a free pass to heaven. You’d think you’d be happy about their free ticket past the pearly gates. But I digress…

    Yes, natural selection is being quite royally screwed up by our altruism, no doubt. You are college educated, so I assume (or hope, anyway) that you took an anthropology class while there. I don’t really have too many dots to connect to see that the problems in Africa (and elsewhere) are only perpetuated by our “helping” them. Of course, our “help” comes with the condition that they accept Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, doesn’t it? Blanket full of smallpox, anyone?

    The fact you have gay friends and I do not is actually quite irrelevant. I know you’d like to use it to make a point, but it’s just not much of one. I don’t have to take heroin to understand its affects and subsequent self-destruction it causes in a person. I don’t have to snort meth to know that it keeps you up for days and sends one into a spiral of despair. Because I do not intimately know any heroin addicts or meth heads does not make me clueless to what they’re going through. All the same, the fact that you happen to casually talk to a few doesn’t make you any more of an authority. I did word things incorrectly, though. I live in Hollywood. It’s not as if I don’t know any gay people. In fact, I see scores of them every day. They literally have rainbow flags lining the streets in WeHo. I just don’t have any I would call friends. Again, this does not make me clueless about their lives. Most importantly, though, I DO know your religion and your sheepish rhetoric quite intimately. Every bit as intimately as you do. I am not here to champion their cause, I am here to destroy yours.

    And that, really, sums up my “aggressiveness” toward you and your kind. While I’m not sure how you can surmise that I’m “aggressive” without any kind of tone to put to my words, I openly admit that my agenda is expose the lies, hypocrisy, and just plain ignorance of Christians.

    I accuse you only of what is true, Jeff. Again, like the first comment on your post (by Dave), Christians wish to be PERCEIVED as loving, but their will is nothing more than to “convert” or “win souls.” If that mission cannot be accomplished, watch the claws and hateful picket signs come out.

    We agree wholeheartedly that religion is a blade, and can be used to kill or heal. And by your own admission, it has been used to do both. While I respect that you’d rather be a scalpel, I hope that you’re ever-mindful of that aspiration, and do not delude yourself into thinking that you are healing when you are not.

    I also respect that you have a congregation to answer to; and like a politician, you must be mindful to your constituents. There are a great many moral gray areas that you cannot acknowledge, lest you admit that the Bible does not have an answer for everything – most especially in this modern age. There are so many new problems that the world faces now that could simply not have been conceived of when the Bible was written. Unfortunately, you believe it is somehow the “word of God, handed down directly from God” (and yet…written by fallible men? Not making any kind of connection there? Hm. Okay then, moving on). I propose that God reveal himself to people like the old days and use some more fallible men to write some new books to address things like abortion and higher taxes, so you don’t have to twist vague verses to support the many biases you currently hold. I’m sure Pat Robertson has a direct line. He thinks he does, anyway.

    Take it as a personal attack if you wish. Go ahead and try to shut this down. Claim that I’m being aggressive and disrespectful. But in reality, all I’m doing is bringing the REAL truth. Something your kind claims to support and defend. All I’m doing is challenging your blindly-held beliefs and asking you to think beyond a book that was written for Jews over 2000 years ago. Your kind loves to discredit every other doctrine, saying yours is the only one, true way to God. Funny how they all feel the same about their “God-inspired” texts. Funny how history has always proven that it’s never been anything more than an opiate for the masses. A means of control. Every single one of them, but most especially yours.

    From the Crusades to Manifest Destiny to Operation Iraqi Freedom….your religion will never change its true colors. It will always be used as a weapon. And while you wish to use it as a scalpel, the truth is YOU’RE the tool, Jeff, for ever believing that it’s been anything more. Religion IS politics, even if you won’t acknowledge that. It always has been, and it always will be.

    So while I’m sure this ends right around here and now, I won’t ever stop fighting Christians and their agenda. I won’t ever stop trying to open your willfully closed eyes. Because ultimately, your religion has nothing to do with healing. It has everything to do with the assimilation of those unlike you. And that is why I will never stop.

    I read something the other day that both scared and amused me. It said Christianity should not be called a religion, but a “faith-based truth.”

    I hope I don’t have to point out the irony of that statement to you, Jeff.

    Not that it would matter at this point, would it?

  14. Jeff Post author

    @ben

    I was really hoping we’d be able to have a rational, mutually beneficial conversation, but this last post has made your agenda abundantly clear to me:

    1. According to you, I, Jeff Mikels, am to be placed in the same classification as those who fill the “angry, hateful picket lines” who have empty faith and sheepish rhetoric.
    2. You see me as a politician and a tool of the political/religious establishment.
    3. You see me as ignorant or at least naive to think that my faith might possibly be of benefit to myself or anyone else. I see faith in God and obedience to the Bible as a means to bring healing to people’s lives, but you see it as only producing death or other evil. What’s more, you disdain me for my belief.
    4. You have downplayed how deeply personal this issue of homosexuality is to me and how close I am to real people who still struggle with its temptations.
    5. More than all that, according to you, I am not to be treated as a thinking individual but as a member of a “kind.” Based on your comments regarding euthanasia and the state of things in Africa, I would honestly fear for my safety around you. I would fear that if given the authority and the opportunity, you would attempt to euthanize or otherwise eradicate me and “my kind.”

    It seems to me that you don’t want to have a conversation with me, you don’t want to grow, you don’t want to learn, you don’t want to have a healthy debate, you don’t even want to treat me like a fellow human. I am an object to you, a category, and a tool.

    If you wish to write back to me here or by email, I invite you to eliminate from your comments phrases like “your kind” and “people like you” and instead engage me for who I am not who you categorize me to be. Eliminate the prejudice, and we can have a conversation.

    Incidentally, you never replied to my invitation to come and visit our church. I gave you a personal invitation and a promise to not berate you. Were you going to keep your end of the bargain?

  15. ben

    Jeff, Jeff, Jeff,

    You seem to be far more concerned about my tone than actually addressing anything I’ve said. This has become a pattern for you. Instead of actually defending what you believe, or at least offering some sort of reasoning behind it, you continue to “worry” about me and accuse me of being “dangerous” – “I would fear for my safety around you” – hahaha. What?!?! I got a nice hearty laugh out of that one. The only thing you should fear regarding me is my mind, Jeff, and clearly you do. I can tell because you appear to be only skimming my posts, not trying to address any of my comments regarding your religion, its beliefs and its history. You are more concerned about my “tone.” In fact, it is the only thing you’ve addressed at all. I believe in Latin, this technique would be called “ad hominem.”

    The reason, of course, that you are not addressing anything that I’ve said, not defending your beliefs or offering any kind of reasoning behind them, is pretty simple, of course.

    You don’t know.

    For all your confidence and eloquence, deep down, you don’t know why you believe what you believe. You don’t have a doctrine that can answer many of today’s questions because you and I both know that your doctrine does not address them. It is just a “feeling” you have.

    In trying to hide this fact, you instead try to put words in my mouth. Sorry, apparently you weren’t paying attention – I never said we need to euthanize Africa. I can’t even imagine where you drew that conclusion, especially given that Africa was brought up in a separate point. If you feel that euthanasia is an evil thing, I guess Bob Barker is just as evil for trying to prevent the overpopulation of pets by removing their ability to reproduce. That evil, dangerous Bob Barker. If you worry that my views of leaving Africa to their own devices is “inhumane,” then I again invite you to learn the most basic tenants of Anthropology, so you may find that indeed, the most “humane” thing to do would be to leave them alone and let nature sort it out. Christians are in Africa for 100% selfish reasons, under the guise of “love,” and instead of addressing this point, you boil it down to “You’re dangerous for believing nature should take its course.” Wow, Jeff, in over your head much?

    It’s very hard to have a “rational, mutually beneficial conversation” when one of the parties is hell-bent on calling the other party out without any basis.

    You’ll notice in my posts, I state facts, and attack the foundations of your beliefs.

    You’ll notice in yours, you conjecture and draw conclusions about me – not even about what I believe!

    The only way we can have a “rational” discussion, Jeff, is if you decide you want to start being rational.

    Given the neoteny that your religion has caused in you, I’m not thinking rationality is something you’ll be given soon.

    And this is what always happens with Christians when you expose their mirage of the truth. They just go all “ad hominem” on you. You don’t have the truth, Jeff. You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t have a super special path to the truth. You don’t have answers. Jeff…you don’t even have any reasoning behind your beliefs. If you do, you’ve been great at keeping those reasons close to your vest.

    Instead of focusing in on my agenda, why not attack my reasoning behind my agenda? Why not address the reasoning behind your beliefs?

    Calling me dangerous and irrational when you clearly have no foundation to make those accusations just further proves how weak-minded and blinded you are. You’re grasping at straws now.

    The fact that you once again extended an invitation to your church in Indiana when I stated earlier that I live in California just further proves you’re not interested in having a “rational, mutually beneficial conversation,” because you’re not even reading what I’m saying anyway.

    Why don’t you just come with the truth, Jeff? You don’t have an ideological leg to stand on.

    Unfortunately for you, I’m not naive enough to mistake eloquence for intelligence. And while you’ve displayed you can use $5 words and craft an eloquent phrase or two, I see through you, Jeff. I see through every last one of you.

    Seriously, don’t bother responding to this if you’re not going to honestly address my points. And further, if you’re not even going to read what my points are.

    I’m disappointed, Jeff. It’s not often I come across a Christian who is educated, and my hope for you was that you could adequately defend your beliefs. But sadly, my reducing you to a “kind” was not at all off base, as you’ve proven that you do not have a mind of your own. You do not have beliefs or ideas of your own. You do not have the answers.

    If you did, you would be far less concerned with my agenda, and would focus instead on putting holes in it.

    But you and I both know you can’t do that, can you?

    Can you, Jeff?

    You’re right about one thing. I should most definitely be feared. But not for the ways you’d like to paint. I should be feared because I am your opponent of the mind. And for every person who is at rock bottom that you lift up under the guise of “love,” for every person you convince of your beliefs, I will be behind you and every last one of you, offering the REAL truth. Exposing the hypocrisy and selfishness of your churches and your leaders.

    This is a war of the mind, and yes, I will win. I will win because I have one of my own, and you don’t.

    And I won’t need violence to win this war, Jeff. That’s something that Christians use. That’s a method people of all religions that wish to control the masses and “convert” them to their way of life use. People with a mind of their own use logic and reason. And dare I say, it is a far more powerful weapon than a gun or a bomb.

    So then, what will it be, Jeff? Do you wish to try and poke some holes in my beliefs, or are you going to continue with your argumentum ad hominem?

    I’m pretty sure I already know the answer, but boy would I love it if you surprised me here.

  16. Jeff Post author

    @ben

    Okay, I’ll take you up on your challenge. Regardless of the fact that I feel you have unjustly attacked me, I will take up your challenge on responding to your individual points. However, after the lengthy discussion we have had, what points would you like to be addressed first.

    Tell you what, I’ll “skim” through your posts one more time, and try to condense what your main points really are. I’ll state them here, and you tell me if I have misrepresented or misunderstood you. Then, we’ll have something to start with. How does that sound?

  17. Jeff Post author

    @ben,

    I have read through each comment from above, and copied over to a text editor all the quotes that I could find of you making a claim or questioning me on something, and once I got to post #11 above, I realized that you and I had adequately discussed all the issues relevant to the original article. If I am mistaken about that, please let me know. If there is some lingering concern you have about my take on the film, just post it here.

    However, I think that your primary concern with me boils down to these following things. Let me know if I have understood you correctly.

    • You believe I am trying to manipulate and control other people through the use of Christian rhetoric.
    • You believe that Christianity is for the most part a dangerous and destructive worldview, that no one should believe it, and that all proponents of it are also dangerous and destructive.
    • You believe that there is no authority on the afterlife or the nature of God.

    Then, in this last comment (#15), you expressed the following frustrations:

    • My concern over your “tone” is employing the logical fallacy of ad hominem.
    • Because I haven’t responded in detail to each of your previous complaints, the only explanation is that I don’t have any answers.
    • You believe that your posts have stated facts and have attacked the foundation of my beliefs but I haven’t responded to them.
    • You also believe I haven’t read your posts, accusing me of not remembering that you are from California. (I searched through each of these posts on this page, and your other posts on this blog, and have not found any reference that you are from California.)

    beginning again

    So, in comment #15 above, you said these two statements:

    The only way we can have a “rational” discussion, Jeff, is if you decide you want to start being rational.

    Given the neoteny that your religion has caused in you, I’m not thinking rationality is something you’ll be given soon.

    and

    Instead of focusing in on my agenda, why not attack my reasoning behind my agenda? Why not address the reasoning behind your beliefs?

    Will do. I hereby make a decision that you and I should have a rational conversation.

    Where would you like to start? For me, I always start with the existence of God or the historical reasonableness of the resurrection of Christ, but with you I’ll start with something a little more personal to this interaction we have had so far.

    You said in Post #13

    Claim that I’m being aggressive and disrespectful. But in reality, all I’m doing is bringing the REAL truth

    My response is that you are not bringing any truth at all. Give me anything you have said, the reasons for the Crusades, the Anthropological studies, the criticism of Christian theology and people, the analysis of the film. None of it is TRUE. It is all colored by YOU or ME or the person who spoke those words to us.

    My claim is that there is no truth inside me, it is all colored by my belief system, my experience, my pains, my joys. Likewise, I argue that there is no truth inside you. Everything inside of your mind is affected by the chemical processes of your brain. Your “truth” is only as good as your “mind” which is only as good as your brain.

    You are not bringing real truth to me unless you can accomplish one of two things:

    1. Truth can be demonstrated if the source of the claim is 100% reliable.
    2. Truth can be demonstrated if the opposite of the claim is 100% impossible.

    This is the way mathematical proofs are done, and the most famous of these mathematical proofs is Goedel’s Incompleteness Axiom where he proves that in mathematics, we can not prove #1 and we can not prove #2 about mathematics as a whole. The field of mathematics itself is not 100% reliable and it is not 100% necessary. Instead, we rely on mathematics insofar as it seems to be very close in most cases to #1 and #2.

    So the question for us and my question for you is directly related to the TRUTH you are claiming to bring to me:

    1. What is the source of your TRUTH? I’d like to know if your source is 100% reliable.
    2. Have you invalidated the opposite of your TRUTH with 100% certainty?

    As long as we are on the topic, I’ll just let you know what my truth is based on.

    Jesus.

    I’ve never seen the afterlife, nor the spiritual world, but there’s a man who lived 2000 years ago who claimed to have existed since before the creation of the universe, who claimed to be able to rise again, who claimed to be God and who did come back to life after being dead for a few days.

    You might not believe that such an event happened, but historically speaking, we have the same evidence in the resurrection of Jesus as we do in the assassination of Julius Caesar, and more evidence of Jesus than the destruction of Troy. The only difference is that we find destruction and assassination easier to believe than resurrection, but the evidence is in favor of the miracle.

    Therefore, I haven’t disproved every alternative truth, but I have studied them well. I haven’t personally heard the voice of Jesus speak to me like he did to Peter or Pilate, but I have investigated his recorded words thoroughly. My conviction is that Jesus is the 100% reliable source of truth. That’s my starting point.

    Therefore, if you want to talk about which worldview is most beneficial to society, yours or mine, we’ll probably be at odds, but I’ll do it with you. However, if you want to talk about which of us has “the REAL TRUTH” I invite you to work with me first on the two points mentioned above regarding your authority or your exhaustive invalidation of competing truth claims.

    How’s that sound?

  18. Summer

    I loved reading this entire debate. This really goes to show how often all Christians are lumped together in people’s opinions. People like to believe that all Christians are hateful and judgmental, but while homosexuals,homosexual advocates, or non-believers are accusing Christians of these things they are themselves guilty of the same. The reason why I came to this page in the first place is because I have a friend who is gay and we’ve been debating back in forth on the gay rights agenda and whether or not being a homosexual is a sin, and he told me to watch the movie that your original post was about. I suppose he wants me to watch it so I can see that you can be a Christian and a homosexual at the same time. I guess I need to see it for myself so I can form my own opinion, but I really appreciate you taking the time to give your opinion and then to defend it to someone who decided to make it very personal against you. I very much admire your level head throughout in the face of such animosity.

  19. Deborah Neilan

    Jeff, thank you. Thank you for proving that a true follower of Christ is interested in hearing others out, answering questions about faith matters, and communicating in a way that is not venomous or threatening. I think you were quite insightful to draw BEN to the question that seems to haunt him most…Does God, or a god, even exist?

    You really do have to start with a belief in the God of the Bible to even consider analyzing and arguing over the Biblical text. Why would one criticize a text in which the criticizer does not consent to the existence of the author? It makes no sense.

    As for me, I have seen “For the Bible Tells Me So” twice now. I wanted to make sure that I comprehended its message. I had been asked by a gay family member to do so. I heard the same condescending tone toward “conservative” Christians as you did in the film. What I disliked most were three things: 1) a comparison of humans to animals (for man is made in the image of God) 2) that a degree from an institution of higher learning makes an interpretation of a document, her the Bible, the “correct” one, and 3) that the moral laws and dietary laws of the Old Covenant were the same by nature. Jesus did not abolish the Law. He came to fulfill it.

    With that said, I am a lawyer and an engineer. I’ve also studied some Greek and Hebrew. I’ve also studied the Bible. BIG DEAL! Jesus used the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. I love that Jesus took the “unschooled and ordinary” to CHANGE mankind forever. As you stated, one cannot deny the existence of Jesus just as one cannot deny the reality of Caesar or the city of Troy. It is what an individual does with the reality of Christ that is of eternal consequence. And to some, He will always be the Rock that causes men to stumble.

    I will pray for you, for those who hate Christ, and for those who hate us for loving Him. Please remember He told us this would happen. I am so grateful for your humble heart as a pastor to not grow weary in doing good. I thought you might like this as a mathematician: Even Einstein said that “relativity applies to physics–NOT to truth.” Press on and God bless you, brother, Deborah Neilan

    1. Heather

      There is no useful information on the topic of homosexuality being shared in this thread by anyone who has posted – which I believe reads only as a series of exercises in circular reasoning. Some philosophies claim that it is not possible to escape such reasoning, but even if the circles are large, there is still useful information that can be learned by all involved – but, in my opinion, it’s not on this thread. Conservative Christian viewpoints, on the topic of homosexuality, is only one opinion in the larger context of the global Christian church. Many other liberal Christian denominations have rationally reasoned otherwise.

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