You Are Invited To A Conference On LGBT Christians

Long before it  begins, the Christian Right is criticizing a conference on homosexuality to be held in a Presbyterian church in St. Louis. The Right is calling it a conference with a liberal “agenda”.

The Right loves the word “agenda” applied to those they do not like. I assume they do not like it applied to themselves. It seems to me we can easily conclude the Right’s agenda is to give religious credibility to prejudice against gay people just as Christianity was used against ending slavery and later desegregation. I don’t know many years it took before Christians who were in favor of segregation and opposed to biracial marriage stopped using the Bible to justify these views. I do not hear it being done today though surely it remains in some places. It is just not used by national spokespersons.

It is still common, however, for national personalities to use the Bible against equal opportunity for gay people. They quote one of the six phrases, none of which are expanded upon to flesh out why they are there or precisely what they mean. Everyone who uses the Bible for this purpose gracefully waltzes past the fact that Bible authors have Jesus saying nothing about homosexuality. If it was an evil sin, why would not the authors have had Jesus condemning it?

It would be most helpful if all conservative preachers and priests had to sit through a lecture on why the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. Let’s tell them about St. Louis.

39 Responses

  1. T. R. Post

    In the gospels, nothing was mentioned of Jesus preaching against pedophilia or wife beating. Does that mean He condones those things? Of course not! As a “conservative preacher”, I don’t need to hear a lecturer trying to convince me the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. That’s hogwash! Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Some of the early Christians had been homosexuals until God delivered them.

    1. T.R. 5:45 I don’t need to hear a lecturer trying to convince me the Bible does not condemn homosexuality

      It always amusing to listen to people who hate gays try to use the Bible to justify their prejudice. You must be referring to what the King James 1611 says in Corinthians 6:9-11 “..neither fornicators, nor idolaters nor adulters nor the effeminate nor abuser of themselves with mankind” (shall inherit the Kingdom of God).

      Where does the Bible refer back to this and explain it was specifically about men having sex with men? Please don’t start the discussion with the phrase, “What that means is…” I don’t care what you think it means–just refer to what it says.

      There are some other verses in the Catholic Encyclopedia you could use. None of them helps, however.

  2. Juan Ruiz

    “the effeminate”

    This is generally postulated as the “homosexual prohibition.” Once again, we are confronted with the limitation of reading the NT in translation; all you get is an interpreter’s take. The Greek word is “malakoi,” (Lain, “masculorum concubitores”) which refers to male prostitutes who would sell themselves to aristocratic men,the term for which is “arsenokoitai.” They engaged in same-sex congress, but were not homosexuals.

    Now, the question is, do all the people today who condemn this group condemn with equal fury the other groups mentioned (liars, thieves, adulterers…)?

    1. Juan 9:54 Now, the question is, do all people today who condemn this group condemn with equal fury the other group mentioned (liars, thieves, adulterers..)?

      That’s hilarious. Do we have factions of Lutherans breaking off from the original denominations because their are employed preachers who are “liars”? Or, do right wing Christians condemn Trump for being a liar or adulterer? If he were “effeminate” maybe they would reject him. But, what does that mean. A few years back a man wearing an ear ring or gold necklace would have been “effeminate”. Now is it “masculine”. Gosh, definitions of effeminate change. I wonder what it meant back when the authors of the Bible used the term (if they actually did, or, it is was put in there later by scribes).

  3. mark anthony

    Were the aristocratic men homosexuals? Quite probably they were: or maybe bisexuals. Apart from concerns regarding the morality of homosexual practices, we should, most emphatically, be concerned about lying. Seems to me that lying has become something of an epidemic in contemporary society.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      You are using modern-day connotations to describe the Classical world, both Greek and Roman. If homosexuals mean having intimate relations exclusively with the same gender, no, they weren’t. I doubt they considered themselves bisexual either. It was a mark of one’s social status to afford young male companions. In part, it was reflected in the mythology. Zeus, along with his female conquests, had relations with males. Ganymede is one example. And don’t forget Sappho’s love poetry directed to women, from which the term Lesbian is derived.

      Paul decries much of the Classical culture, while incorporating Hellenic theology in his own. You may recall he also criticizes men with long hair. But then he attempting to argue his own religion. It’s no different than Mormons saying they have the only valid Christianity, and an omniscient prophet. Or Catholic papal infallibility.

    2. mark 10:35 Were the aristocratic men homosexuals? Quite probably they were; or maybe bisexuals.

      That is totally ridiculous. There has never been an entire society, or class, that was or is homosexual or bisexual. Probably you believe the tale that all the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual.

      1. mark anthony

        sorry Jon, my comment was not ridiculous. So far as I know, what we now call homosexuality was widely practiced in parts of the ancient world, As in Sparta. And no, probably not every male in S &G was a homosexual, but some quite likely were. Moreover, pederasty was practiced by the Greeks, maybe even by Plato. BTW, I recall that Aristotle said somewhere that homosexuality was like eating dirt.

        1. Juan Ruiz

          Sorry, but your problem is you do not have a clue about the beliefs of the Classical world. You are simply giving a 21st century interpretation. Go and do some research into that time, and then come back.

          1. mark anthony

            Juan apparently fancies himself as an expert on the sex lives of the ancients. Wonder what he has read that supports this particular claim to fame. Interestingly, most of the history books that I read or have read talk a lot about wars, philosophies, politics, economics and not much about sex. Maybe I have missed something really juicy. So clue me in Juan.

        2. Mark 2:43 And no, probably not every male in Sodom and Gomorrah was a homosexual, but some quite likely were.

          WHAT?? Some quite likely were?? Of course. So far as anyone knows about the same percentage of the population has been homosexual since the beginning of humans. There is no reason to believe it was any different in S & G than it was in Sparta then it is in the U.S. today.

  4. Juan Ruiz

    ” I wonder what it meant back when the authors of the Bible used the term (if they actually did, or, it is was put in there later by scribes).”

    They didn’t use the term. It is Latin and they wrote in Greek. Effeminate as a pejorative did not develop until the late 16th century.

  5. Juan Ruiz

    As long as we’re talking language, I just have to add this great irony. Saul of Tarsus, traveling through the Greek-speaking world, had to change his name. While it was fine in Hebrew, in Demotic Greek it was a slang term for “gay,” “fag,” and yes, “effeminate.”

  6. Jon, as someone claiming to be an atheist, you have a baneful obsession with God, Clergy, and morality. This is exactly what the Bible says a person like you will do. In order to live with yourself you must commit yourself to actively suppress the knowledge of God’s self-witness within you and outside of you. While you’ll deny any awareness of suppressing God’s witness to you, in the deepest parts of your mind and heart you know it’s true.

    Rather than lecture clergy on what the Bible says, and fighting against God, it would be better if you would stop and turn to Jesus Christ and work as hard for God as you have against Him. Jon, at your age, you know you have fewer days before you than in your past. May today be the day of your salvation.

    Sincerely and with much respect.

    1. Doug 12:50 Rather than lecture clergy on what the Bible says…

      Thanks for the nice comment. I don’t think anything I write here is original. It is the result of bookshelves heavy with work of skeptics and gatherings I have attended. I know, your bookshelves are heavy with works that conclude the opposite of mine. Because there are many writing and preaching from your bookshelves and few from mine I enjoy making my points here. Fortunately, Forum Communications wants me here and I am grateful for that.

      All the best.

  7. Jon, I have no issue with you publishing your opinion. I believe in the free-market of ideas. On the other hand we will all stand before God and give an account for what we have said and done in this life.

    Jesus said, “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
    Matt 12:36 ASV

    1. Doug 1:23 Jesus said, “And I say unto you….

      But, what if Jesus never said that? That’s why this blog is needed, to explore the skepticism that has existed since the first day of Christianity.

      1. Jon, while I respect your understanding on many topics. However, the history of Scripture texts, scriptural text transmission, and principles of ancient near eastern translation theory are not areas of acedemics scholarship I would extend to you any significant level of competency. It’s amazing how much of an expert you fancy yourself on topics for which you believe to be foolish and irrelevant.

        1. Doug 4:22 It’s amazing how much of an expert you fancy yourself on topics for which you believe to be foolish and irrelevant.

          I didn’t want to go too far arguing with you, Doug, but you seem to be intent on doing so. I need to return the favor.

          A few posts back you fancied yourself as a licensed psychologist. You pretended to have me on your couch stroking your chin and telling me what my inner thoughts and doubts were. You said I had doubts about my skepticism and these doubts were driving me to write so many blogs here criticizing Christianity.

          May I remind you that, unless you correct me, you are not licensed in any mental health field. You are no more qualified to make statements about my unspoken doubts or thoughts than a pet dog or cat. To put it more bluntly, what you wrote was bull shit.

          Now, I have the same qualifications as you on assessing someone else’s inner thoughts and fears. So, I have done a work up on yours. There are several hundred preachers who stand behind the pulpit each Sunday and preach lessons they themselves no longer believe. They have doubts. One can identify such preachers in that they are obsessed with the doubts of others. Your fall into that category.

          Just as you gave me advice for how to deal with my skepticism, I have advice for you. At the Freedom From Religion Foundation you can find a group of other pastors who no longer believe but soldier on as preachers. These colleagues can give you help and hope to go forward in spite of the doubts you are experiencing. Get help today.

          Cheers.

          1. mark anthony

            Nasty, nasty Jon. For my part, I think that we all entertain doubts, doubts about many things, religion, politicians, the media, academics, doubts about even you Jon. BTW Descartes started out by doubting just about everything.

          2. mark Nasty, nasty Jon.

            Well, it’s nasty when self righteous people come here and do analysis of me. They avoid arguing whatever their point is and focus on shooting the messenger. A while back one of the many who have told me that I have mental problems came on. I explained why it was him who had mental problems, explained the nature of his malady and gave him a phone number for help. He was SO mad. “I was just trying to help you” he said. I told him it was me who was trying to help HIM. He has never been back.

          3. Jon, I didn’t make a psychological assessment of you. You’re correct, I’m not qualified to do so. I have never accused you of mental health issues. Additionally, I have always sought to be respectful even while disagreeing.

            I made a spiritual assessment. I believe my two acedemic degrees and over 30 years of ministry experience give me some basis for evaluating your words and actions.

            Based upon the length of your defensive response and the strength of its emotional charges demonstrated my comments were spot on.

            “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
            Rom 1:18–22

          4. Doug 8:42 Professing to be wise, they became fools..

            Who are the fools and who are the wise–we have disagreement there.

            I disagree that your degrees in ministry and decades of experience as a pastor gives you any qualifications to assess by “spiritual health.” It does give you training to see that I do not have the same beliefs as you. What you have told us is that anyone who does not share your religious beliefs has some kind of “spiritual” ailment. Half the people of the world are spiritually ill by your definition.

          5. I want to expand a little on Doug’s analysis that I have a “spiritual” ailment of some kind. Those of us in the skeptical camp have a kind of running joke about when a believer sizes up a non believer. The assessment is always the same, There is something wrong with you. There is never something wrong the believer.

            Maybe we could conclude that there is something wrong with those who always find something wrong.

          6. mark anthony

            What about the view that to be a “believer” is to be mentally ill. If I recall accurately, such remarks have been forthcoming recently from atheist quarters.

          7. mark 12:04 What about the view that to be a “believer” is to be mentally ill.

            I did point out Doug seems to be obsessed with what I am thinking. Is that a mental illness? I’m not qualified to say.

            Now, when someone says they are qualified to make a “spiritual” evaluation of me, that seems over in la la land. Is the next step, “I am Jesus”?

            It all started with the Bible, those who do not accept invisible gods and spirits have a “hardened heart”. When this happens today using other words it is not “being respective”, it is being crude and insensitive.

  8. Juan Ruiz

    “Jesus said, “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
    Matt 12:36 ASV”

    I have attempted to envision the line of billions of people waiting to appear before the throne, and the Divinity saying: “Peter, pass me Volume 100,123,908 with Juan’s record.”

  9. mark anthony

    I’m waiting for Juan to tell me more about his knowledge (and the source thereof) of Roman and Greek sexology. And to explain why he knows so much more about the ancient world than I do.

    1. mark 9:22 Juan has mentioned some of his favor sources here before. It is clear from reading references from the two of you that he is familiar with much different literature than yours.

      I have four different authors on my shelves who have PhD’s in ancient literature. They write about authors seldom mentioned college courses on religion and there is new information and new perspectives every year.

    2. Juan Ruiz

      You view the Classical view of sex from a modern-day, Christian perspective. In other words, the fallacy of presentism. If it’s not a married man and woman doing it, it’s a sin. The Greeks and Romans viewed sex as a power trip, whether hetero or homo. This is something you don’t seem to understand.

      1. mark anthony

        And I think that in some quarters we still view sex as a power trip. In fact, some thinkers view everything as a power trip (e.g Hobbes). Of course the ancients did not think of non-marital sex as a “sin”. OK. but they undoubtedly did engage in practices that would properly be labeled bisexual, incestuous, homosexual or whatever. That’s not “presentism, “it’s just calling a spade a spade.

  10. Retired Major

    Even Mother Theresa said she had doubts. There is nothing wrong with doubting and searching for an answer.

  11. Jon, I’m disappointed but not surprised by your response being reduced to ad hominem attacks/jokes. I never claimed there was something wrong with you. I stand by my original statements that you have a profound sense of the reality of God which drives your seemingly tireless efforts to disprove His existence and belittle those who publicly acknowledge His existence.

    1. Doug 7:55 ..that you have a profound sense of the reality of God which drive your seemingly tireless effort to disprove his existence

      One thing atheists have learned is that out of some Christians comes double talk and diversion techniques. You said earlier you hold no license in mental health but here you are telling me what my thoughts are. When you delve into telling us what I am thinking you are portraying yourself as an expert in mental health and the state of one’s mind. Please do not slip slide again to the murky world of religion and try and use undefined terms like “spirit”.

      I have to explain again why you portray yourself to be a mental health professional. It is a standard technique that the Christian world imposes on the world of nonbelievers, there is something wrong with you if you do not believe. It also goes under the heading of “hardened heart”. You are simply putting a new phrase on an ancient practice used by the wealth goat herders who wrote the Bible.

  12. Jon, you are very adept at telling us what you are thinking. You tell us what you are thinking not only by what you write, but also how you write about things, and your dismissivenss of people and ideas contrary to your own.

    I simply made the observation that for someone who claims not to believe in God you spend a considerable amount of your time writing about God and and deriding people who believe the Bible. It is totally reasonable to ask why is Jon so obsessed with writing about what he believes doesn’t exist? Why does Jon feel the need to belittle those who differ from him concerning spiritual issues? Why does Jon become so defensive and make such pejorative comments of those who differ with him?

    Categorize my comments however you’d like. Call them mental health claims, double speak, or whatever else you’d like to use to deflect and defend yourself. Nothing you can write will change the reality while claiming to be an atheist you consume a considerable amount of time and effort to disprove and belittle what you believe doesn’t exists and denigrate those who do believe in God.

    To paraphrase Shakespeare, “The man doth protest too much, methinks.”

    1. Doug 3:13 To paraphrase Shakespeare, “The man doth protest too much, methinks.

      Ironically, that is the same question I would ask about yourself. Why would someone who has no interest in nor respect for atheism visit this site and argue on and on about what the site contains or about its author? There are probably hundreds of Christian bloggers writing things you agree with.

      Your question, asked in the form of Shakespeare’s doth-protest-too-much is asked here often. And, it is asked along with the same “analysis” you made, paraphrased as “What is wrong with you?” My reply is always the one I made to you, “What is wrong with you?”

      I think the old Biblical “atheists have something wrong with them” (hardened heart) is just a way of avoiding the weakest points in the faith. When it is impossible to deny atheists make powerful arguments against the existence of evidence of a god and against Christian beliefs being put into our laws, a way to avoid defeat is to shoot the messenger.

      You are not interested in my advice, I’m sure. But I’ll give some anyway. If you want to look at the site and feel the urge to comment, stay away from the pseudo psychology of “spiritual” analysis. It is something akin to voodoo.

  13. Jon, you ask why would I visit a site on atheism. Fair question. However, I didn’t visit your site. My original reading of your article was in the InForum, the electronic version of my home town paper. So, no I did not seek out an atheistic site on which I could protest. I am responding to a very public posting on a very diverse platform.

    I have yet to read a powerful argument by you for atheism. Your arguments are self defeating. You dogmatically preach we came from nothingness by chance and meaninglessness and we go meaninglessness and nothingness. Yet somehow, by some miraculous hocus pocus non-verifiable event, logic, reason, and morality reigns supreme.

    Science has proved nothing ever come from nothing. Long ago spontaneous generation was refuted. Yet you persist on pretending what was has been falsified on a micro level is none the less true on the macro level. And having stated your case against God, you with ad nausium relentlessness continue to preach dogma against what you believe doesn’t exist. Like Don Quixote fighting against the windmills, you courageously fight against the very God you claim does not exist. If anyone should point out to you the oddness of your relentless diatribes against what you believe isn’t really there, you attack with ad hominem accusations.

    A much more reasonable explanation for a person of your stature, education, and success to continue to fight against the shadows of non-existence is to see you as needing to actively suppress what is actually true – God is there and He is not silent.

    Jon, though I don’t know you well, my encounters with you have always been good. I believe you to be a good and sincere man. I have no ill will against you. Obviously, we disagree on questions of ultimate reality. However, I think it would be very difficult to find a public statement of mine speaking poorly of you as a man. When speaking of you to others it is typically to give a good and affirming report. Disagreement on issues doesn’t necessarily mean a rejection of the person. My table is always a welcome place for you.

    I pray for you. I pray that one day you will come to love and trust the very God you so faithfully fight against. When death comes to you, as it will come to all of us, I pray you’ll know the living God as a faithful Father through a wonderful savior Jesus Christ rather than a holy judge who will repay you for all your work to turn others away from Him.

    God’s grace is greater than all our sin.

    May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you. 2 Cor 13:14

    Signing off for now. You can have the last word.

    Your friend,

    Doug

    1. Doug 5:45 Thank you for that nice post. I hope one day we can resume our personal relationship and I wish you the very best in your career as a minister. Those in your congregation are fortunate to have you.

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