Author Topic: Religion  (Read 54972 times)

Colleen

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« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2009, 10:38:29 PM »



I understand your concerns about Christianity's lack of welcome to homosexuals.  It is less that they are wishy washy than that they are schizophrenic about the issue. 


I wouldn't put it as harshly as Clovis but I tend to lean his way from my personal experience.  In one local church that I briefly became involved with (Methodist) the new pastor started an outreach program for anyone, including GLBT, but also including people of other races/ethnicities who had felt excluded by that church in the past (it was the "white Methodist church" with a rapidly aging population in what was now a majority African American town).  It was a nice experiment for a few months, but then the church board got upset about the new folks coming in and booted the pastor.  

The Episcopal Church, which seemed to be one of the most progressive for quite some time, is now having a schism over their decision to call a gay bishop.  While the US Episcopalian church is largely on the correct side of the issue, there are congregations splitting off.  Same drama was going on with the Presbyterians last I heard.  And the Catholic Church has not only retracted whatever little progress it had made with groups like Integrity, but have RUN in the other direction back to open hostility.

I just got tired of fighting it.  This is where my period of agnosticism began.  I know in my heart that whatever God there is, either made me the way I am and has blessed me hugely with the positive things that have come into my life as a result; or is the Deist watchmaker who is interested but doesn't really have a dog in teh fight, or isn't there at all.  Mostly I believe the first, but I strongly came to believe that it's not religion that is the problem as much as organized religion, especially when you get above a local church level.  It is exhausting and I wash my hands of all of it.  I have a hard enough time keeping any sort of spirituality in my life without letting the folks that supposedly run that sort of thing keep trying to stamp it out.  I needed a place that is nourishing without making me fight constantly to be allowed to be there in the first place.

I know there are perfectly lovely Christians; Steve you seem like one and I have great respect and admiration for what you are doing.  But the Christian organizations and hierarchies of the various sects are being cowardly and doing tremendous damage to so many people along the way.  I guarantee that within 50 years congregations will be looking back with the same kind of regret that many Southern congregations now view their actions during the Civil Rights movement.

Clovis8

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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2009, 10:41:48 PM »


I know there are perfectly lovely Christians; Steve you seem like one and I have great respect and admiration for what you are doing.  But the Christian organizations and hierarchies of the various sects are being cowardly and doing tremendous damage to so many people along the way.  I guarantee that within 50 years congregations will be looking back with the same kind of regret that many Southern congregations now view their actions during the Civil Rights movement.

As usual, Colleen is 100% correct.

oldkid

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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2009, 10:47:03 PM »


I know there are perfectly lovely Christians; Steve you seem like one and I have great respect and admiration for what you are doing.  But the Christian organizations and hierarchies of the various sects are being cowardly and doing tremendous damage to so many people along the way.  I guarantee that within 50 years congregations will be looking back with the same kind of regret that many Southern congregations now view their actions during the Civil Rights movement.

As usual, Colleen is 100% correct.

I don't think the churches will change their minds-- they will just split according to these lines.

For the terrible damage done to homosexuals, I actually think it is less the religion as the disgust people feel when talking about homosexuals-- "homophobia".  For many American Christians, there is that same disgust when talking about the homeless, and their own Scriptures tell them to help the homeless (in my church we call that "hobo-phobia")
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FroHam X

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« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2009, 10:47:29 PM »
Okay. Interjection. Can we not all see that one of the big reasons why homosexuality is unaccepted in most religion is that most religions are very sexually repressive. Colleen, you commented on masturbating before Yom Kippur. Tell that to an Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi and he'll want to stone you. Tell it to a Reverend and he'll try to explain to you why what you did was not normal. Don't forget that sodomy is also not condoned by the texts.

And for the record, I have an uncle who became very religious. He lives in an Orthodox town in Israel where the children are only taught and spoken to in Hebrew. They speak Yiddish. Why? Well, in his own words, "we need to keep the influences of the outside from contaminating our youth." I love my uncle, and he is truly a great guy, but the actions of those who he associate with are just as harmful as those within many Christian movements. Be careful where you throw stones; the house of religion is glass all over.
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Clovis8

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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2009, 10:55:21 PM »
I agree Froham some of it stems from the sexual repression so common in many religions. However, much of it is a classic example of selective adherence to the Bible which is far too common. The Bible condemns homosexuality but it also condemns touching a dead pigs skin, wearing multiple fabrics, and planting different crops in the same field etc. Steve is correct that the real source is homophobia in general and too many Christians use the Bible as an excuse for that homophobia.

Colleen

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« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2009, 10:58:00 PM »
As a Jew I have a lot to say on the matter, but for fear of alienating my favourite Filmspotter I'll keep those thoughts to myself. Suffice it to say that any religion has good lessons to be learned, but there are plenty of way to approach those lessons, and I'm glad you've found some positive ways, but what you present is a narrow characterization. Interestingly the most accurate representation of Judaism I've seen is in A Serious Man. Really get to the heart of the religion as dogma, spirituality, and forced identity.

Also, if I get one more person saying, "but you're not allowed to eat pork," I think I might burst.  

Froham--don't worry you won't alienate me.  And I realize that my characterization is narrow but that's also the thumbnail short summary of what set me on the road I'm on, not the sum total of it.  What I've learned since I started studying is deeper and a lot more nuanced, but would also take tons of off topic discussion that I don't feel like typing and no one feels like reading.  Also, I am fully aware that the outlook I embrace is specifically Reform and my understanding of things as stated here would make nearly all Orthodox and many Conservative heads explode.  So if you are any of those and are having explosions, sorry about that.

Pork/shellfish etc. is a whole other thing.  My tongue was firmly in cheek when I said what I did about guilt over eating pork.  The whole notion of eating kosher and what it involves is huge and interesting and I'm still working through how I am going to approach it.   I don't want to get into it all here but if you want to continue any conversation privately I'd be happy to.  

Also on the Christian issue, keep in mind that I live in, and came out in, the deep South.  The evangelical variety of fundamentalist Christian is the majority and they don't have any nuance when it comes to homosexuality.  And a lot of the churches that nominally belong to more "progressive" denominations are the ones that are voting for schism to head off on continuing the wrong side of the issue.  I'm quite sure that colors my thinking.   :D

Colleen

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« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2009, 10:59:51 PM »
As a Jew I have a lot to say on the matter, but for fear of alienating my favourite Filmspotter I'll keep those thoughts to myself. Suffice it to say that any religion has good lessons to be learned, but there are plenty of way to approach those lessons, and I'm glad you've found some positive ways, but what you present is a narrow characterization. Interestingly the most accurate representation of Judaism I've seen is in A Serious Man. Really get to the heart of the religion as dogma, spirituality, and forced identity.

Also, if I get one more person saying, "but you're not allowed to eat pork," I think I might burst.  

My brother runs a large hotel and recently had an orthodox Jewish convention. I never knew how stick their guideline are for the Sabbath. They were prohibited from interacting with modern technology at all. They could not push elevator buttons nor ask someone else to do so. They had to hire someone to sit on the elevator and push all the buttons each time someone got on then the person could just get off on whichever floor they needed. They then had to have someone on each floor to use the card to open their door.

In Israel and in other places where there is a large population of Orthodox Jews, they have elevators that have a Shabbat setting, where they automatically stop on each floor during the Sabbath.

FroHam X

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« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2009, 11:12:26 PM »
As a Jew I have a lot to say on the matter, but for fear of alienating my favourite Filmspotter I'll keep those thoughts to myself. Suffice it to say that any religion has good lessons to be learned, but there are plenty of way to approach those lessons, and I'm glad you've found some positive ways, but what you present is a narrow characterization. Interestingly the most accurate representation of Judaism I've seen is in A Serious Man. Really get to the heart of the religion as dogma, spirituality, and forced identity.

Also, if I get one more person saying, "but you're not allowed to eat pork," I think I might burst.  

Pork/shellfish etc. is a whole other thing.  My tongue was firmly in cheek when I said what I did about guilt over eating pork.  The whole notion of eating kosher and what it involves is huge and interesting and I'm still working through how I am going to approach it.   I don't want to get into it all here but if you want to continue any conversation privately I'd be happy to.  

Actually, my comment about kashrut was more about the fact that people seem to think that because I am a Jew be heritage, I must also follow the religious practices. I actually get flack mostly from Jews. I'm an athiest. I had pork tonight for dinner. I don't like people fitting me into a label. I went out with a girl a couple years ago who wasn't Jewish. A friend of mine made a comment about how I couldn't marry her because then the kids wouldn't be Jewish. We exchanged a few more words on the subject and I basically stopped talking to him. I refuse to conform to what others consider the right norm, and I especially refuse when it comes to religious practices because I do not even subscribe to any religious belief. Unfortunately, many people, even those who would consider themselves moderate, don't accept that. I am a member of the Jewish "race" and thus I have an obligation to be at least partially religious, and kashrut and marriage are big components of that.


While I oppose religious belief, I actually totally respect your choices, Colleen. I respect your choices because you arrived at them yourself, and particularly because I believe you to be intelligent enough to arrive at those decisions through good reason.
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smirnoff

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« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2009, 11:15:02 PM »
I agree that the New Testament preaches tolerance. The problem, as you acknowledge, is that far too many Christians ignore this teaching.
Ignore or 'don't live up to'? We all fall short of our ideals.

Trust me, as an ethics-focused Christian:  it is "ignore".

I'm surprised and disheartened to hear it.

Colleen

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« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2009, 11:40:33 PM »

I don't think the churches will change their minds-- they will just split according to these lines.


For a while, yes.  But even Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones U. eventually apologized and at the least paid lip service to the notion that they had supported the wrong side of the issue.

Quote

For the terrible damage done to homosexuals, I actually think it is less the religion as the disgust people feel when talking about homosexuals-- "homophobia".  For many American Christians, there is that same disgust when talking about the homeless, and their own Scriptures tell them to help the homeless (in my church we call that "hobo-phobia")

I both agree and disagree.  I agree that there is a good bit of relying on the bible to support and justify homophobia.  It's very evident when someone like Oral Roberts goes on and on about it and you realize that he thinks homosexuality consists solely and completely of men having anal sex with each other.  It's crazy how much they will dwell on that aspect and that alone.  These are obviously people who have no idea what actual gay people and gay relationships are like, and unless they are railing about feminism, lesbians are usually left out of the equation entirely.  

Where I disagree is in the assessment of the damage done to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who grow up in these churches and go from believing in a sunny Sunday school God who loves them and loves everyone to recognizing that the sexuality they are growing into as adolescents puts them utterly on the other side of that love and peace and assurance and belonging.  It's not simple homophobia--it's the damage of literally ripping people's lifelong spiritual underpinnings out from under them.  You could grow up in a fundamentalist church and go on to kill someone and they will have a better understanding of how Christ would want you to be treated.  A murderer isn't left to feel as utterly excluded from God's love.  And that's leaving aside the insidious damage of constantly hearing that it's a matter of choice, of not wanting to be "healed" enough, of not trying hard enough, of having well meaning parents to put their fragile teenage kids into horrific programs to try to "fix' them.  And those kids constantly receiving this horribly degraded image of what gay relationships will be--doomed to promiscuity, disgusting sexual practices that no "normal" person would want to do, doomed to an empty life of hedonism disease and early death, followed by eternal hellfire.   When the choice is between constantly trying to pretend they are "cured" and heterosexual, or being closeted and terrifed of being found out, or going off to the city to be gay, do drugs, get AIDS and die, it's not surprising how many gay teenagers try to kill themselves, and way too many manage it.  

Then a lot of the ones who actually survive this and don't become self destructive self fulfilling prophecies and manage to build a happy life with healthy relationships generally have the scars and end up rejecting all religion all together.  

I can't tell you how much that infuriates me.  It's murder and aggravated assault on the soul.  Deliberate and premeditated.  And again, my view is very much skewed by living in the south, in the city that becomes the same refuge to the small town Southern GLBT kids that San Francisco does nationally.  So just about everyone I know went through some form of this.