Sunday, November 05, 2006

Haggard dismissed by his church for sexual immorality

In spite of Ted Haggard’s claims to the contrary not even his own church believes him. Claiming first that he never knew the male prostitute he later changed his story and said he did know him. He claimed he never had sex with the man just had a massage. And he initially denied that he bought drugs and then changed it as well claiming he bought them but threw them away -- several times.

Unrealistic! Unbelievable! Apparently even his own church has trouble believing the twisted stories that Haggard invented. On Saturday the board set up by Haggard’s church to investigate the accusations said: “Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.”

In other words Haggard was having gay sex while leading an antigay campaign.

They said that the only solution they see is to dismiss him from his position. They claim Haggard agrees with them and will be issuing a letter of apology. Haggard is again changing his story, he is supposedly admitting that he had sex with the man. I expect we’ll still see some bizarre claims by Haggard -- bizarre claims and fundamentalism just go together.

Of course these fundamentalists believe that religion can change sexual orientation. So they are saying that Haggard can “get healing and restoration.” I suspect it is a matter of time before Haggard pretends once again that is 100% heterosexual, just as he has been pretending for his entire adult life. He will repent and be forgiven and there is a good chance he’ll be back in the pulpit if he does.

Only the fact that Mike Jones, the former prostitute, had evidence that he knew Haggard prevented a whitewash in my opinion. Haggard was denying even knowing Jones until the tapes of him were released.

What I am fairly sure of is that the churches that are in the Haggard tradition will demand he reflect on his own life but they will not reflect on their own views. How can they? Once God’s word settles it then it is settled. And they think the Bible has all the answers in the world -- at least all the answers that are important.

They will not reflect upon how their own view on homosexuality pushed men like Haggard deep into the closet. they will not reflect on how their beliefs encourage such men to marry, to have families without changing their sexual orientation, without being able to change their sexual orientation. They will not reflect on how the pain to Haggard’s wife and five children is directly related to the repression that they actively encourage.

Their fundamentalist mentality does not allow them to see the world as it is. They can not perceive reality as it exists. They instead see the tortured world of the Bible and they insist that all reality be twisted to fit the Scriptures. The war against gays that fundamentalists engage in is not really a war against gays at all. Gays are only one battle and symptomatic of the problem with fundamentalism. They merely illustrate the issue, they are not the issue.

The issue is that fundamentalists can not accept the
world as it exists. They are at war with reality. Their creationism is an example of their war with reality. Anything which does not fit the collection of fairy tales they idolize is reshaped until it does. The Bible is the Procrustean Bed by which all life is either amputated or stretched.

Two thousand years ago, and more, some unknown people, created stories. Some are wonderful some purely barbaric. Other people collected those stories and called them holy. And since then other people have been using those ancient stories to try and tell people how to live. And the result has been centuries of pain and horror. From the executions and torture of the Inquisition to the mental torture and legal harassment and inequality of gays misery has been the result of this bibliolatry.

The really sad thing here is that the fundamentalists will not look within themselves. They can’t. They are not allowed, by their own faith, to question what they believe. So they will continue to go on inflicting mental torture on new generations of Ted Haggard’s. And they will feel good about it.

Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: “On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and abbsolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”


Blogger David said...

"The really sad thing here is that the fundamentalists will not look within themselves. They can’t. They are not allowed, by their own faith, to question what they believe. So they will continue to go on inflicting mental torture on new generations of Ted Haggard’s. And they will feel good about it."

Very true, and this is the very heart of the problem with this kind of organised christianity, the denial of the need to question.

The thing is, although I'm not christian, even I can see that this is exactly what the climax of the New Testament was about. Before Jesus died on the cross he yelled, "Father, why have you forsaken me?". A quote from psalms, a scripture most onlookers would have recognised, enforcing the importance of that moment in time. He despaired, questioned god, it was one of the most important symbolic acts in the bible. Yet these church's hang on to their dogma with avengence.

November 05, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

David: I understand your point quite well. But I would ask if we really have idea what Jesus said or even whether he was crucified. There is no reliable account of Jesus and his life only gospels written decades after his death. One gospel's account is as you state. But another says his last words were "Father, unto thy hands I commit my spirit." A third gospel has the last words as: "It is finished." And since we have no reason to think any of these writers were actually there they could all be wrong.

I also don't think we can speak of a climax to the New Testament. It was written by numerous people, most of it written by Paul who never knew Jesus at all. And it was assembled over some years. A climax can take place in story with a unified story from start to finish, one author or a few working together, but I think climax is the wrong word to use for the crucifixiion myth. While there is some evidence that a man named Jesus existed that is really all we know. There are things we know that were not true. There was no census at the time of the birth of Jesus as the New Testament claims. There is no record of any slaughter of the innocents -- something someone would have remembered. In fact the Herod in the NT was dead before Christ was born.

November 05, 2006

Blogger David said...

I agree with most of that. Even if it real (and I'm not saying it is, like I said I'm not christian), 2000years later there's bound to be a few versions of the events. I view the bible as a story though, reguardless of whether it's true or not it's better in my opinion to view it that way, as a work of fiction. Most of the christians I know however (I was raised by "born again" christians - pity me :( ) beleive the version I stated.

The issue of what the climax of the bible is one of opinion really.

My real objection to religeon is the organisation of it. Especially when it comes to that whole intelligent design crap, which has made it's way to New Zealand now. They'll teach that stuff in schools here over my dead body.

November 05, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

The issue of the climax of the Bible is really not a matter of opinion. You have a few problems with that idea. One is that for there to be "a" climax you need a unified story. There isn't one. And you need it to be planned, unifed by the author or authors working in concert. If I were to string together a collection of stories by different authors who were unfamiliar with much of what else was in the string it would be improper to call any one incident by one author the climax of the collection. Now a climax in a story is in a work of fiction. Reality doens't quite work that way. But since I believe the Bible is mostly a work of fiction it could have a climax but now the way it was assembled.

What you can say is that the central theme of the gospels is the crucifixion is you wish. But it is not found in most books of the Bible or discussed much by them in some of the books that do mention it.

The fundamental problem with religion is not, I think, the organization. It is the belief in a central theory of life without evidence and which is resistant to evidence. A bowling league is organized but not dangerous. And churches only become dangerous when they are after state power. But it is the state power that allows them to inflict harm on others. Otherwise what harm they inflict is basically self-inflicted -- harm induced because people choose to believe the nonsense they spout. Haggard self-infliction comes from beliefs he has adopted and that harm would exist whether he had an organized church or just an irrational belief system.

Never tell a fundy they'll only get creationism over your dead body. They may see that as a two for one offer. : )

November 06, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

In fact, the Bible IS a unified story. It has one central focus, with many sub-plots, but all of them support the telling of the main story, which is the story of a Creator God who is both merciful and just, presenting a problem for fallen man who must have punishment for our sin and yet needs to be reconciled to the creator. This is the over-arching story presented throughout the entire scriptures, and david is almost right in saying that the crucifixion is the climax. The only thing I would correct, with regards to this, is that it is actually the resurrection that is the climax, in my opinion. The crucifixion is actually the seeming defeat that comes just before the "deus ex machina" of the ressurection that conquers death proclaims Jesus as the triumphant Lord of Life.

I have heard even many non-christian literature experts view the Bible as a magnificent example of classic literature.

I'm not sure where you're coming from, with the statement that "There is no reliable account of Jesus and his life only gospels written decades after his death....And since we have no reason to think any of these writers were actually there they could all be wrong." 3 out of the 4 writers of the Gospels were present during his life. Luke is the only one who was difinitively not there, as he himself discloses. Instead, Luke collected his facts from eyewitness to Jesus's life, as well as from the sources that had already been written - much like modern day historians and journalists. Matthew, Mark and John were all disciples of Christ, and while it was certainly a few decades after the events occurred, there is no reason to believe they are not true accounts.

If you had 3 allegedly eyewitness accounts to the life of George Washington that had even less degree of collaborating information, my guess is that you would not even think of questioning their authenticity.

November 06, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

Publius, you are predictable and tedious. First please tone down the pushing of your theology here. I have repeatedly said it is bad form to use this site to promote your theology as it would be for me to go to a Christian site and promote atheism. So all the crap about creators who are just and merciful is not appreciated or wanted. It is the preaching you keep pretending you are not doing. If you can not comply then in the future I'll just delete the full comment. Surely several request are enough. So not more "triumphan Lord of Life" sermons or don't bother posting.

That the Bible is classic literature proves nothing about it being a unified story with one climax. It is the collection of lots of books and is not unified except in the tortured logic of Christians.

And you are so woefully ignorant of the writers of the gospels as to be almost comedic. First, just because they are called the Gospel of Luke doesn't mean Luke wrote it. Most bible scholars admit they have no idea who wrote it. So there is zero evidence that the unknown authors were eyewitnesses to anything. If someone came along with an "eyewitness" account of Washington, for which no copy exists within decades of Washington's own life, and for which there is no provenance to verify authenticity any historian would look at it very skeptically.

If it then went on to say Washington walked on water, was born of a virgin, rose from the dead, healed the sick, it would be thrown in garbage where it belonged.

November 06, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

First, you are making several unsubstatiated claims. Chiefly that the Bible is not a unified story line, despite the historical claim that it is. I was simply giving a commentary on the fact that it is indeed a unified story line, and a dramatic and intriguing one at that. Do not mistake that for theology, when I was simply presenting the historic view of the unified story of scripture.

Yes it is a collection of "lots of books" but your claim that it is not unified is completely misleading and it is a biased opinion. The scriptures do not contradict each other, and tell a very unified story throughout. If you think otherwise, I'll be happy to hear your reasons and examples of where you think that there is contradiction or disunity, and I can show how you are mistaken.

There is nothing "tortured" about the logic of Christians who believe that the Bible was inspired and is authoritative and infallible. In fact, it seems more tortured to me to go through life with no guidance at all as pertains to meaning and purpose.

And contrary to your opinions, which are insulting to say the least, I am hardly ignorant of this subject matter. It seems that it is you who is greatly misinformed. What reason could you give that even remotely makes sense, for how we would have a text labeled "The Gospel of Luke," when the introduction gives detail about the author's reasons for writing another record of Jesus's life, as well as addressing it to a particular person, if it were not written by a man named Luke?

From your comments about the hypothetical Washington accounts, it is clear that it is the miracles to which you object more than anything. I ask you, what kind of God would He be if he could not provide miracles?

November 06, 2006

Blogger luggage79 said...

As far as I know (and it has been around in a lot of scholarship on the authorship of the bible), John's gospel was written about 200 years AFTER the cruxifiction. This is also clear from the contents of John, because it is the one that already shows a lot of church-machinery around, something not present in the alledgedly earlier gospels.
And just as an aside, I've been working as a proof-reader and editorial assistant and I know how texts change (without the author even knowing about it). Anything that has been worked on for 2000 years is bound to be as far removed from the original as a good old steak is from the living moo-cow.

November 10, 2006

Blogger barefootliam said...

An irrelevent note really - I'm pleased you like the picture of old books, but it might be better for your readers if you used one of the lower resulution versions; see here for the list. It would download several times faster, and wouldn't use so much of my server's bandwidth :-)

I think it's great that a spiritual fundamentalist can explore the human fundament and have fun with men. And sad that people require him not to do so. What a silly religion.


November 13, 2006


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