Gay Pastors and Reverse Engineering of Theology

There is a meeting going on as we speak of a Presbyterian protest group who will soon split off into a new denomination.  Maybe some day there will be as many branches of Presbyterians as there are of Lutherans. 

And why not.  Every group who feels they know absolutely the most lofty of morals, and, who enjoy looking down on lessers should form their own denomination. 

The consequences of forming yet another Presbyterian denomination is inconsequential. The Lutherans did it recently.     

One thing I’d prefer would be some candor.  Those denominations who split off over the gay issue should include “No Gays Allowed” in their names.  I’d suggest something like WE-DON’T-LOVE-YOU Lutherans or PLEASE-GO-AWAY-GAYS Presbyterians.

We who are nonbelievers find this splitting up of old denominations a teaching moment.  It demonstrates so clearly theology is not something that comes from an independent and objective source, but exclusively from our minds.  We take who we are, what our values are and reverse engineer them into them into a belief system.  It has always been that way, and, always been denied this is so.

Were it not for these preexisting bias’ and prejudices, it would have been quite easy to resolve the gay issue.  Everyone can read the Bible.  Since it’s right there in black and white, it should be easy to agree on what it means.

Theology is a growth industry.  People are making up new theology everyday to suit their individual needs.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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53 Responses to Gay Pastors and Reverse Engineering of Theology

  1. Brad Campbell says:

    People can read the same passage or sentence can come away with different interpretations. These differents views cause “breaks” in churches.

    All part of “western culuture”……freedom of speech, thought and religion. Debates like these are possible here but in many places it is not.

  2. Henry says:

    “Since it’s right there in black and white, it should be easy to agree on what it means.”

    The scriptures are not in black and white which are tailored for the mind of a “freethinker”. I believe they are confounding shades of gray with difficult parables to comprehend for those laden with their self absorbed agendas. That is very sad you see, but not the fault of the scriptures.

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    There is an interesting thing happening here, and that goes for many denominations. The progressive members for whatever cause, (I don’t care which, name your favorite) , systematically promote change. Slowly, and sometimes not so slowly they attract activists, and move forward to affect change. There are always those who don’t agree with some of the changes proposed. Eventually they are outvoted, and the activests win. Those folks who disagree in change are then forced to leave due to concience. In reality, they didn’t change, but the ones around them did. The progressives virtually inherit the synodical structure, buildings, and all other properties. The ones who didn’t change are then considered to be the ones who started a “new” church. What is “new is “old, and what is “old”, is new. I would think that normally the ones proposing change would be the ones that are creating a “new” church, but no, it is just backwards. It is a crazy upside down world out there. This is not new. This has been going on for at least a couple hundred years, and has gained speed.

    • Henry says:

      I agree.

    • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

      Yes, it does seem backward, but it’s fairly obvious that organizations that do not adapt do not survive indefinitely. Christian churches that ostracized divorced women (not so much men, go figure) were not that unheard of 40 years ago. Divorced people were simply biding their time until hell.

      Today, not so much. The same thing will happen with gay people. It’s just a matter of time and how much pain must be inflicted.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        I’m an old man, but I haven’t noticed the kind of ostracizing you mention on an institutional level.—-ever. Nor have I ever heard of someone being condemmed to hell for divorce. We have several churches, none of them are fundamentalist. Yes, there is an occasional bigot, but that is a personal position. Do you over-generalize just a little?

        • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

          Really? Isn’t there a mainline church that used to dis-comunifate people that divorced unless their Pop gave them a note that said, ‘silly people, this marriage never happened’ ?

          BTW, I never ever in a gazillion years would over-generalize or exaggerate.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            nope

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Mac; If you are possibly alluding to the Catholic church regarding excommunication- divorce, etc. , I would suggest you ask a priest. I believe you will find you are greatly mis-informed.

          • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

            Oh Wanna, if I had a dollar for every time someone patted my head and told me “there, there Mac, you don’t REALLY understand why we hate . . . .”

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Then you wouldn’t make statements or assumptions that prove to be verifiably wrong. Go ask a preist, if you don’t believe me. Or you could go online, and go to canon law, subdivision; divorce-annullment. Another source is EWTN website-documents. These sources are quite convoluted, and confusing to traverse, so that’s why it would be simpler just to ask a preist. Or you could go to the diocese offices, (There is one in Fargo at the RC cathedral. ).
            I’m not a Catholic, but your statements are —again—misinformed. Don’t feel bad though, most Catholics are just as informed as you appear to be. Unless they are, or have gone through a divorce, they wouldn’t have a need to be aware of procedure.
            My speciality is comparative theology. It is in my field to know both what, and what not Christians believe and practice. I have no dog in this race, but I really don’t care for mis/dis information. No matter who or what is the subject. This is a rich field of activity.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Mac; Just to make you feel better, I find more Christians to be most poorly informed even about their own denomination, let alone someone elses. This is when I hear really stupid statements, under the guise of authority.

          • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

            Again I say, my opinion is a pretty general cross section (love the pun) of what mainstream 45 year old people perceive.

            True or not.

            Although I disagree with Jon’s theology or lack thereof, I could not agree more in that today’s church has a marketing issue that if not addressed, will cause it to falter if not fail.

            That’s all.

            Oh, I often use exaggeration to call attention to absurdity. There’s always a boulder of truth somewhere in the midst of it, though. (see, I used boulder rather than grain–made my point in a big way)

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 3:42 ‘…haven’t noticed …ostracizing..on an institutional level…” If the “institutional” level includes the local priest or preacher and their respective congregations, I don’t know how you could say that unless you have been living on a mountaintop for the last many decade. Divorce has been a BIG taboo in many religious circles. I remember a semon against it at First Presbyterian Church of Fargo 20 plus years ago.

          But, you seem to be an “institutional” guy. Another name being an “establishment” guy. What is written in church documents is what the church is. Many of us believe what the church really is is what people in the pews think it is. Different perspectives.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Being “ostracized” is a far cry from acknowleging everyone’s own personal foibles in life. I have seen individuals go through pure hell with self doubt , and guilt. A mild form of paranoia, thinking everyone is “talking” about them, when reality no one is. Much of that is self inflicted. Some of it is the PLOMS, (poor little old me syndrome). These people need understanding, and friendship. But then Calvinists have a cure for everything but hurt. (so it would appear by what you say.) The message heard in “Churches” have been a great comfort to millions going throug trying times since the start.
            If you mean “institutional/establishment not to represent “cafeteria”Christianity, (pick what one likes, and throws out the rest), you would be right. If a “cafeteria person is what you are, find a cafeteria church. If not, study the menu, and find out why it contains what it does. If you want only sweets, go to a candy store.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 1:51 The cafeteria is a common and great metaphor. Every denomination is actually a cafeteria. What people select at the cafeteria determine what the kitchen cooks up. That determines what the managers plan. Ultimately, what peole select becomes what the place is known for.

            No matter how noble the original owners might have thought their theology was at the time, the tastes of the public overwhelm the menu. Always has been, always will be.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            That is the trend. That is called “church shopping”. “Tell ‘em what they want to hear”. Prosperity?, we got it. Happy music?, we got it. Self improvement/motivation, we got it. Whatever you want, we got it. Sales and marketing, we got it. Until they “don’t got it”, and become dissatisfied with the preacher, members, or teaching. Then they go across the street. Usually these “shoppers” never stop shopping. They could start their own church, but the cycle will come to their door too. And then there are those who like meat and potatoes. They come for the satisfaction of the meal, and stay.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; This discontentment is across all of society. Be it stores, services, or geography. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were to be a “Reformed Red River Freethinkers” group in the future. A group or groups centered on a specific topic. A sect you might say. Grand Forks? Who knows. Mabey even Fargo.

  4. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    As painful as this is to watch and experience, I believe it is a good thing to happen. Reality is, there is a not insubstantial number of individuals in every denomination who do not care for certain groups of people.

    These folks need to stop causing discord and strife in the parent church; split off and form their own organization, which I suspect will die off as the generation dies off. The original organization can move forward in peace without the malcontents.

    Kind of like cutting off a cancerous growth. Hurts like hell, but so very worth it in the end.

  5. .E says:

    Totally agree on the problem of thousands of denominations of Christian communities.

    As Jesus perfectly united his will to God, so should we be united in his body the Church.

    Also, We all have a belief system. Our judgements are miriad that each are depedent on a belief. For instance, You believe that the floor under you will support you. Can you prove this absolutely? You have weighed the risk that the floor will not collase and tuck that away as a high probability and move on with your evening.

  6. Bob says:

    There’s so much to comment on, where do I start?

    To Mac 3:26, Divorced, or single women with children, are still prejudiced against, not only in the church/temple/mosque, but especially and even worse in the school system. My sister’s kids were bussed off to a particular school where many of the poor kids from single parent homes are assumed “to automatically have learning problems because they come from single parent family homes” as one teacher told her. Our whole family was shocked. And this was just last year, in the Red River Valley!!!!!!!!!!!!! My sister is now going to try homeschooling for the first time. My wife and I who have been homeschooling our three youngest for years are helping her.

    To Jon: I’m an atheist, and I support you all the way man, but you comment as if religious people are the only ones who differ and split apart. I’d split apart from the Red River Freethinkers just for having the arrogant audacity to name their group Red River Freethinkers, as if your group is the most important and sweeping group in the whole Valley, instead of calling themselves for what they really are, the Fargo Freethinkers. What if Grand Forks, or Hillsboro, wants to start up an atheist group? Should they now have to call themselves Northern Red River Freethinkers? Didn’t any of you guys think of that?

    On the topic of churchs splitting off, from an anti-theist’s point of view, mine, that is a good thing. Churches splitting up into smaller denominations means they are less powerful, and their staying power isn’t as strong. Hopefully that means more separation of religion and state. That way more people will likely become non-supernaturalists because they’ll have more examples of how hypocritical religion is. And that’s better for everyone.

  7. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    The scriptures that condemn homosexuality are controversial because the scriptures in many other places explain that those who are Unbelievers will never understand their true meaning. This has led to a lot of division over many issues…and a lot of splits and formations of denominations…Unbelievers are rife in the “true church” that is described as the Bride of Christ. It has nothing to do with any denominations or church buildings or church fellowships..it is a condition of one’s spirit.
    It is also called the Old Nature …absolutely no regeneration of the spirit by the true source…the Triune God. Those who scorn the phrase “born again” have no understanding of what it means— but a sincere and seeking way of studying John 3 (the gospel) makes it abundantly clear that church membership or sprinkling an infant with water is NOT the way to truly being born again. But nobody will understand this comment I fear.
    Members of certain churches are the ones who have the most scorn for the phrase “born again” —I have seen it first hand.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalogal 4:04 “Those who scorn the phrase ‘born again’ have no understanding of what it means…” Does that mean people who were born again, and remained as part of the born again community for several years, but later lost their faith, also have “…no understanding of what it means..”? That doesn’t seem logical to me.

      • Henry says:

        Very logical. A hardened heart. That is very sad you see.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 5:26 “A hardened heart…” That’s one way to look at it. When a preacher pounds the pulpet and says, “Stop sinning or you will go to hell,” it sounds like hardened heart to me.

          • Henry says:

            “When a preacher pounds the pulpet and says, “Stop sinning or you will go to hell,”

            I, quite frankly, haven’t heard that particular message and pounding delivery. I’d like to know where this church is you are using as an example. You must hang out in some diverse places.

  8. Bob says:

    To Wanna 3:50, Now don’t be taking what I write about and taking it out of context Wanna. You’re displaying typical supernaturalist agenda opportunity here.
    “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were to be a “Reformed Red River Freethinkers” group in the future. A group or groups centered on a specific topic. A sect you might say. Grand Forks? Who knows. Mabey even Fargo.” Wanna 3:50

    Just because I have a slight, very slight angst about The Fargo Freethinkers dubbing themselves so arrogantly the Red River Freethinkers, doesn’t mean its the same thing as religions who break off from their main branches. First, atheist groups get no tax breaks on their property the way crazy religious institutions do. (And they are all crazy to my mind,) Second, atheist groups have no dogma, creed or supernaturalist bunk thinking in them. Freethinker really means freethinker, no mind trappings and question everything, everything. You can’t question everything when you believe in a dogma, or doctrine, or supernaturalism.
    My beef with the Red River Freethinker title, is just a small, small problem of manners, of courtesy, and not dogma or doctrine or creed or prejudices like it is with the church’s splitting, its absolutely not the same thing. And you know it Wanna. What a little opportunist you are. Typical brainwashed religious person–putting your fingers in your mind-ears saying to yourself over and over again “I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to hear it. You can’t make me hear it.” like a little kid.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Well Bob, I’ll let you perculate on that a while. Up jumped your defense. Just as dogmatic as those whom you accuse . Go have a dark ale, and take a breath.

  9. Bob says:

    “Just as dogmatic as those whom you accuse” Wanna 5:08

    Accuse Wanna? You poor little victimized christian.
    What’s my dogma Wanna?
    Do you mean freethinking? If freethinking is a dogma? Yes, I’m quilty of the dogma of freethinking. And I’m grateful to be free of any doctrine, dogma, supernaturalism, thank you.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Bob; Small concerns usually grow to bigger things in time. Because you have brought up this topic several times, only reveals your angst, probably even more than you would like to admit.
      Your excitability reveals an element of the zealot. You yourself become the equlivant of a supernatural. I have seen something like this in other situations. Usually anger managment issues are a factor.

  10. Bob says:

    My “excitability” as you label it, is passion for freethinking, for questioning everything, for wanting other people to be free of dogma and supernaturalism too. Passion for questioning everything.
    Exactly how am I hurting anyone with that? Answer: I’m not.
    Dogmatists, and supernaturalists can’t say the same thing, they do hurt other people by making people feel guilty for not believing the way they do, and for brainwashing children, and for taking money from tax payers for their nefarious agendas.

  11. Bob says:

    Bugger off wanna.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Bob; Really. What are you trying to say? Are you experiencing a genetic throwback, and want all the banannas? Everyone else’s banannas are of no value? And you are the only one who knows?

  12. Bob says:

    As a poor victimized christian, are you telling me Wanna that you know?

    Physicists don’t even know what we are made of, but Abrahamic text believers think their texts have all the absolute answers and that you don’t need to question anymore cause the answers are in their dumb books.

    Take your god glasses off and think, question, think, question, think, question, think, question…

  13. Bob says:

    Oh, and bugger off.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      must be a primate language. “bugger”?
      Oh, and no, I don’t have all the answers, nor have any of us,(including you), asked all the questions. There is a lot of speculation.

  14. Bob says:

    But you don’t question your supernaturalism, or your texts, do you Wanna. And that’s a statement, not a question.

    Freethinkers do question it all.

    Bugger is european.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Again, your superior attitude rears it’s ugly head. My my, you are the regular diplomat aren’t you. And all of this from those who try to pass themselves off as being tolerant. I’m not feeling the love here. And that gets us back to anger managment, and possibly road rage. Drive home carefully today, and don’t kick the dog when you get there.

  15. Bob says:

    Just exactly how is questioning religion rearing its ugly head?

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Didn’t say that. Read it again !! “Superior attitude”. Much much too reactionary to be considered reliable.

  16. Jon anyone who is truly “born again” of the Spirit (John 3) does not lose that condition nor does he/she truly backlide! That is what is called eternal security.
    But if one has one has only “professed” saving faith—-he or she has never been regenerated in the first place—– according to the scriptures (Christian new testament ones)

  17. Bob says:

    Wanna, how do you know anything in your Abrahamic text is true? Do you have any proof? And why and how is that a “rearing of its ugly head?”

  18. Bob says:

    There’s no proof of Happy Land after we die Wanna. Do you have have any proof? If this need atheists have for proof is uppity to you, or a rearing of its ugly head to you, I can’t answer you. You probalby can’t either.

    If you love life, please support longevity research. I love life. If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to give part of my winnings to longevity research.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      “If I ever win..” (the chance)— then you say; “I’m going to” (the absolute) . First the chance, then the absolute. SEE, YOU CAN HAVE FAITH!!!!! Good for you !!!! It’s a start. If you had said “I would give…” , you would have exhibited doubt.
      If there was no concept of life after death, one would think you would give it all to research if that was so important to you.

  19. Bob says:

    Actually Wanna, the math does not support my chances of winning, just saying.

    I wouldn’t give it all to research because I’d love to give some to Doctors Without Borders and loved ones who need help too. Its wish thinking, just like supernaturalism is wish thinking. Just because you wish it to be true, doesn’t make it so. If that’s uppity, or a rearing of its ugly head, I can’t help that. I need proof, evidence.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Wishing for you , not so for others.
      The “ugly head” thingie, if you had read it was “reactionary”. Let me add radical. It is NOT your message really, it is the messenger, (you), in regard to “reliable”. Let me add credible.

  20. .E says:

    Marriage is a lifelong promise. If a Catholic gets a civil divorce, that is not necessarily sinful. If one of those parties remarry, this is the problem because they are still married and the attempt at a second marriage would be not valid and therefore sexual relations would be infidelity.

    A decree of annullity may be pursued, but this is not a Catholic divorce. The annulment is a determination that by reviewing the circumstances regarding the original marriage ceremony the marriage is null or never “was

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      One seldom considered point, (and I believe an extremely important point), regarding remarriage after divorce, is that it pretty well eliminates the possibility of reconcilliation of the parties of the original marriage.

  21. freddy says:

    Bob: If you chose to have no faith without proof – that is a choice. Do you have proof there is no God? can you prove you are right. If you are unable to have faith in anything because you need proof – that’s your choice. But what Bob thinks isn’t necessarily the truth. So jump off the RRV Free Thinkers pulpit Bob. And – let’s all hope your home schooled children are taught to question everything and demand proof that Dad is always right.

  22. Bob says:

    To freddy 3:09 I can’t prove there isn’t a god freddy anymore than I can’t prove there aren’t unicorns, fairys, or Santa. But that’s silly isn’t it. Just as silly as believing in the Abrahamic god.
    I’m proud my children get to grow up to be freethinkers. They are the lucky ones.

  23. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    My this thread is getting long. Regarding the term ‘ostracized’–I am speaking from the individual’s point of view.

    Just because the church says ‘There, there. You’re not ostracized, you just misunderstand why we . . . .” does not change the fact the individual feels shunned or ostracized as a direct result of something they’ve learned or experienced in their church.

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