Monday, December 11, 2006

Same drama, new cast.


Another tragedy within fundamentalist circles. There is this inability to accept reality because reality and the Bible don’t go together.

Pastor Paul Barnes ran the fundamentalist megachurch, Grace Chapel in Englewood, just south of Denver. He built it up from the ground himself. Sunday he resigned his office because he’s gay.

Barnes says he knew he was gay since he “a 5-year-old boy”. In a video farewell to his congregation hs said: “I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.” But God wasn’t listening. Or maybe he was saying: “No.” Either way those prayers went unanswered.

Barnes told his congregation that he fought this thing his entire life and constantly failed. He spoke of his father giving him advice about the evils of homosexuals and Barnes thought to himself: “’Is that how you’d feel about me?’ It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed.”

Barnes says that the Bible says it is a sin and he cannot accept that he was ‘born that way” so he is desperately trying to find a cause so he can find a cure. Barnes is married and his wife says he only told her last week. The couple have two grown daughters.

Meanwhile the Rev. Ted Haggard, former leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, who resigned his office and his church because he was exposed as having a relationship with a male prostitute is now trying to be “cured” by a team of three pastors none of whom have the slightest idea what they are doing. But they know what the Bible says and damn reality full speed ahead. A friend of Haggards says that Haggard is saying that he is not gay. Maybe he should of thought of that before going to bed with men.

Haggard, like Barnes, like most fundamentalists are so deep into denial that they can deal with reality at all. They have constructed a world that fits what they believe the Bible tells them. But that world is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist. But if that world doesn’t exist they have to question the authority of the Bible and they never do that. They can’t do that no matter how much evidence accumulates.

As I’ve said before, fundamentalist is at war with reality and reality has a way of kicking you in the ass. Haggard was not the first. Barnes won't be the last. They deny, lie and fight it for decades. They marry, they pray, they preach, they weep. They go through a living hell trying to change and it doesn't work. And still they insist it has to be a choice.

20 Comments:

Blogger Publius II said...

Exactly what is it that you think contradicts the reality that homosexual behavior is wrong and abnormal? As best I can tell, there is no reason to deny this, apart from the fact that it's a more comfortable position to take for many people. It would seem to put the individual at the center of the universe, so to speak, with himself calling the shots, in rebellion to what God has said explicitly.

And of course THAT very fact is consistant with our beliefs concerning the state of mankind as sinful by nature, in constant rebellion to God. So again I ask, how is that inconsistent with reality, as you say?

December 12, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

You fluctuate between being semireasonable and an asshole. Right now it is more the latter than the former. First there is no reality that being gay is wrong or abnormal. There is only the stupid god that you drool over that was invented by some genocideal manians a couple of thousand years ago as an excuse to rape, murder, and plunder from others. If you want to preach about what your asshole god says take it someplace else. I care no more for the bullshit hateful Chrsitians propagate than I do for the genocidal maniacs that infest fundamentalist Islam. Here is the reality, which is not something you and your fairy tale book deal with very well.

There is plenty of evidence that being gay is a natural, normal condition that occurs in a relatively stable percentage of the population. It is not something that violates the rights of others by its nature. That is no one else is harmed by it. No amount of support increases the numbers of people who are gay and no amount of harassment from fundie assholes reduces the amount of people who are gay. This man fought it his entire life and it doesn't change. Haggard fought it his entire life and nothing he did stopped the reality. Rev. Latham hated gays and preached against them but that didn't change the fact that he was gay. No matter what he did reality remained the same. Reality doesn't change.

If you want to preach then push off. If you want to give evidence from reality then give it from reality. If you want to quote the Bible directly or indirectly then do so on your own site not mine. If you want mini sermons then I will delete them and you from the site. I've said this dozens of times and you keep pushing for ways to preach the shit you believe. And yes, hateful comments like your's piss me off.

December 12, 2006

 
Blogger luggage79 said...

Publius, your homophobic statements seriously put me off. I come here to read, not to be offended.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

You misunderstand me. I surely was not trying to be offensive in any way. And frankly, I don't really see how saying homosexuality is immoral could possibly offend. I also say lying and lust are immoral, but yet I myself am guilty of both. I did not say you as a person are any more immoral that I am.

What I am trying to say, as gently as possible, is that your view of reality is based upon your presupposition that there is no God and that He has not spoken.

I'm not preaching, I'm simply saying that IF you base a worldview on the presupposition that God is there, and that He has in fact spoken, then it is completely realistic to make certain absolute statements what is immoral and what is not, based not on my own ideas, but on what has been said.

To call me a homophobe is baseless, because I do not fear homosexuality in any way, shape or form. I have many friends who I love dearly who are gay. Based on reason, I make the proposition that there is an alternate worldview that includes a moral standard that is impossible for any of us to obtain. Homosexuality is no worse than any other action or lack of action that the scriptures call sin. I beg you, understand that I am not preaching hate, or prejudice against any of you. I sincerely apologize from my heart that you were hurt by my statements.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

You say you don't understand how calling people "immoral" is offensive! Are you serious? You really don't see that as offensive?

Now you can say you are immoral all you want. What you did was come here and call other people immoral, people who have not done anything to you or to anyone. My reality is based on what is real, what is around us, etc. Your reality is based on what you imagine might be real. But there is only one reality, the one that exists.

All the god crap is a problem. Say I argue that he does exist and his name is Allah. Now what? Maybe he is just Jehovah and the Jesus stuff is just a hoax. Religious fantasies abound and it is impossible to accept them all. People make all sorts of unsubstantiated claims about instant knowledge. It is their job to prove it (preferably on their own sites please). People claim crystals heal, aliens created us, prayer works, etc. But that gives them no right o rule others.

I never use the word homophobia myself. It is a concocted word that is wrong. Most people don't fear homosexuals though some do. Most people who are called homophobic are not afraid they are bigots. Homophobia makes it sound as if it is a "mental illness" when it is not. It is moral choice to hate others. Now you say being gay is "no worse than any other action or lack of action that the scriptures call sin." Interesting. Leviticus says homosexuals shall be put to death. Does it say that about having lust? Or lying? The Bible doesn't seem to take the view that all these sins are pretty much equal. And the venom spewed by your fellow Christians is so extreme that it is a good indication that they also think being gay is far worse. I can understand how they'd think that since Jehovah supposedly wanted gays executed in a bloody manner.

Now your more enlightened approach is that it is no different than other sins. Other sins likes what? Murder? Is being gay just as bad as killing someone? is being gay just as bad as raping someone? As stealing from them? I'm not sure that is much of an improvement over the Christianists who want them incarcerated or executed.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

You are actually asking some fairly good questions, though I suspect you're not really wanting me answer them seriously. My knowledge of Levitican law is probably my weakest bible topic, but let me give you some of my thoughts on why homosexuality seems to be singled out (though it isn't really singled out, because there are other sins that had the same punishment, such as adultery, I believe).

If you do a word search for "stoned" (which would be the death penalty in OT times), you find that that penalty was doled out for all sorts of things, such as touching or trying to ascend the holy mountain which God was dwelling upon while he gave the Ten Commandments, as well as committing adultery, committing murder, etc... and of course homosexuality. Now what do all those things have in common? They all violate something sacred that God created and set aside for some particular and the offender has no right to take such violation. With adultery, the offender violates a marriage that isn't his own, and God made it clear very early on in the Bible that marriage is to be something sacred. Same with murdering. It violates another's life, which is sacred. And with homosexuality, it violates the sacred consumating relationship that was created for a man and his wife.

My point in all this, is firstly to agree with you that it is wrong for the church-going folks to single out homosexuality as something above and beyond all other sin. Clearly that's not the case, as the death penalty was given for any number of sins that violated something sacred in purpose.

Secondly, I want to point out that these laws were given not to all the nations, but to God's chosen nation of Israel alone. The punishment for sin was much harsher than what we would find acceptable under civil law, because the whole point of the Law, was not just to keep Israel in line, but to show the Holiness of God and the severity of the difference between men and God. Again, not trying to preach at all, but trying to explain where the misunderstandings lie. There are plenty of people who don't understand the Old Testament and try to use it to control other people, and it's just flat wrong, and I'm deeply sorry for the pain that it causes you. But I'm here to say that I have no desire to rule you, condemn you, or elevate myself above you in any way.

To blatantly answer your question of comparison for homosexuality to rape and murder? Is it the same? Obviously from a civil standpoint, no it isn't the same. But from the standpoint that it violates what God has deemed sacred, yes it absolutely is, and the punishment is the same for homosexuality, murder, rape, lying and lust and whatever else you throw in there as sin -- that is, seperation from God eternally.

And anyone who takes it upon themselves to condemn another for any sin against God, is guilty of setting himself up as a god, and ought to be punished himself. Please see that is emphatically what I'm saying. I harbor no prejudice against you or anyone else.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

I am aware of the Levitical code and that Jehovah, or those pretending to speak for him, wanted to kill all sorts of people. Murder violates another’s life unless they are homosexuals and then stone them to death -- a particularly barbaric way of murdering people.

That Leviticus is so disgusting and barbaric (such at the rules about beating slaves) is a strong reason to think it is not the work of any divine being but of barbarians warped by the same mentality from the Middle East that the Taliban embraces. It is not god’s word but man’s word and it reflects the men who wrote it.

If this is how god treats his chosen it is on the level of getting liberated by George Bush -- you’re lucky if you can survive it. As for showing the holiness of some mythical being I think it shows the barbarity, cruelty, viciousness and pure immorality of those who invented that code. But then they reflected their time which was a barbarous, cruel, vicious, immoral time. Had they been inspired by some divine being I suspect they would have risen above the levels of the barbarians around them. They didn’t. If anything they were worse.

Actions which do not harm anyone else are not crimes. Actions which do not harm others and do not harm oneself are not vices. Your God is Stalin writ large except Stalin never tortured as many people.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

I understand where your coming from, believe me. It's difficult to see it in its proper perspective, because we don't have any other example of a being that is truly just in dealing out such punishment. No one else has the right to. But God's punishment is truly Just because we each deserve that same punishment because we've violated God. There's your "victim" so to speak, certainly not helpless, but He is the one that is violated. Again, I know you probably don't or can't understand that. But from my point of view, it makes perfect sense.

Stalin tortured out of cruelty. God punishes out of Righteous Judgement. When we are not punished for our rebellious nature against the Creator, it is nothing short of sheer Mercy.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Do you even read the monstrous stuff you have to say in order to defend this mythical beast?

God is the victim is rubbish. If two men kiss or two women kiss and love one another Jehovah is victimized! The alleged greatest being in the world is harmed by this? He becomes a victim because two people love one another! What utter and complete rubbish. He is a monstrous fiction created by barbarians and belief in him turns otherwise rational people into barbarians as well. You can't violate an all powerful being. The idea is contradictory. I am sure it makes sense to you because you can't think outside the book. It's not allowed. Your mind is shackles, your thoughts controlled. You are not a free man who is allowed to think but a servant required to obey. Stalin didn't think he was being cruel anymore than you think Jehovah is being cruel. He thought it was for a higher good. Ditto for Jehovah. But as I said Stalin was not nearly as prolific in the people he tortured.

December 13, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

Make no mistake, I'm not defending God. He needs no defense. I'm merely trying to explain why it makes sense to me, while it seems complete rubbish to you.

Perhaps I should not have used the term "victim" but I was following the whole "it's not a crime" line of reasoning you were presenting.

Follow me here for just a minute... If God is the Creator, and is the ultimate Authority in the universe, and he has given clear commands on how to behave, according not just to his whims, but because it is the way he designed certain things, then wouldn't it follow that if you do not abide by that Law which he has made known, then you have violated Him, in that sense?

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

You defend the concept of a specific kind of being invented by barbarians. That such a thing "makes sense" to you is your problem.

Your argument is absurd. If he designed the universe in a certain way it couldn't happen in another way. Your view is that god is a dictator and people are serfs and slaves with no rights at all. is it any wonder that so many fundamentalists are attracted to authoritarian government? To argue that one has violated god is silly. You can't take away his liberty. You can't take away anything from him otherwise he would be lesser for it. Since he can't be a lesser being than you imagine him to be then you can't violate him. What you end up with is caprice on his part, a desire to torture because he enjoys it. A very perverse being indeed. And of course he does not exist. It is the perception that fundmentalists create which is perverse. The non existent has no moral character becauser that which does not exist can not have qualities. But the concept can. And the concept that people invent tells you about them not about the concept.

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

You're still not understanding what I'm saying, and so you're criticizing something you don't understand. I could leave it as something we wouldn't ever agree on if I thought you understood what I'm saying. I'm not asking you to believe that God exists, just to understand that the position follows logically IF He exists. I think that there would be a lot less hatred in the world if people understood where the other is coming from. The fundamentalists (in general) would be less hateful, I think, if they really understood where the atheist is coming from.

What I am saying, is that when someone breaks a civil law, the correct perspect of this is (in my opinion and understanding), that they have not only violated the victim of the crime, but also violated the sanctity of the society at large. When a man commits a murder, or commits theft, in general we understand that the man has brought not only the heinousness of the crime to an individual, but also brought disorder and violation to the community at large which beforehand was undisturbed. And then also the crime violates the Spirit of the Law as a whole.

In sort of the same manner, we as believers, understand that a violation of what God has said is not right (The Law), violates not only the one who is sinned against, but also violates the Law as a whole. And in comparison to the way society is violated with the crime, so God is violated in the same manner with man's disobedience.

And I think your statement that God enjoys punishment is baseless. Countless times in scripture, it shows God as mourning over not only the condition of man in rebellion, but also sorrow for the necessary punishment. This is much the same as a judge giving a verdict and sentencing a criminal. Does the judge enjoy this? Usually not, but it is the necessary action for true Justice. We seem to have lost the understanding of what Justice means today. It isn't some lofty nebulous term that has no real meaning. It means exercising the due punishment for a crime committed. The crime in this case is violating the Law which God rightfully instituted. And by "rightfully" I mean He had the right to institute it. He has the right, because we are His creation, for His purposes.

When we have violated that Law, there must be punishment, by definition of Justice. But as I've said before, that's not the end of the story. There's also God's Mercy, which means He doesn't WANT to punish us, but yet there must be punishment. These two things create a dilemma which is seemingly contradictory in God's character.

I am not preaching, and I know I'm walking a fine line here where you're concerned with this, but understand, that I'm only trying to explain why all this makes sense. The dilemma (justice demanding punishment, mercy not wanting to punish) was solved in the man Jesus Christ. Does this make sense to you all?? Starting with the presupposition that God is there, I mean. Which I know you don't.

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

I am imagining a perfect, all power being is totally self-sufficient and can not be harmed. He is impervious to harm. Thus nothing we do can possiblly violate this being. My main issue on such claims is that your view of god is self contradicting. Such a being cannot be violated yet you claim he is violated.

I do not belive in the "sanctity of society" or other collectivist concepts. I believe in individual rights. A crime is a crime, when properly defined, because it violates the life, liberty or property of another. Not merely because they are offended. The atheist may find churches offensive but has no right to close them down. The Christian may think gays are offensive but has no right to deny them equal rights under the law. Communities are dynamic systems of human interaction but do not exist as an entity of any kind let alone one that has rights which trump the rights of the indiviual. Now you must be clear when you speak of crime. Do you mean any violation of law or do you mean a violation of rights? If you mean the latter then you would have to say being a Christian under Stalin was a crime and disturbance of the sanctity of society. I don't think you would say that. I wouldn't. Being a Jew in Nazi Germany or gay in Christian America are in the same general category. Each may offend some people but doesn't violate rights and thus is not the subject of proper legislation. And instead of God's Law I would much prefer Bastiat's The Law. It's clearer and much more sane.

Your concept of law is fundamentally authoritarian even though I don't think you are an authoritarian (though you have tendencies). You are forced into this position because of your religion.

God can't mourn since that implies lose and a perfect being can't lose anything. If he did not enjoy punishment he could stop it. Or is he not all powerful? Is there a force that prevents him from doing what he'd like to do? You say he must punish by justice but he establishes the justice so such punishment is not required. It is part of the sadomasochistic impulse in religion. If god doesn't want to punish then he does not have to do so unless he is bound by something greater than himself. Any thing god would do is something he must want to do otherwise he wouldn't do it. These are the contradictions that the fundamentalist finds when he invents a perfect being who acts in violent ways.

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

That was a very intelligent post NGZ, and I appreciate your candid response. Where we disagree I think lies in the definition of terms. For instance, you use "harm" and "violate" interchangably in the first paragraph there, and I don't think you can. To violate the Law is not to harm the Law itself, or even the law-giver. By "violate" I simply mean that we've acted at odds with God's law, and God as the Law-Giver, has been been violated in that sense, but not in the sense of being harmed. See the difference?

Please throw out my "sanctity of society" line of reasoning there. After I wrote that, I thought more about it, and you're right. It's a collectivist viewpoint and I don't really believe it.

To answer your question about "crime," and defining it, I'm on the same page with you. Remember, I am a registered Libertarian, so I'm right with you on what's a crime and what's not. First, I'm one of the few Christians who believe that it would be wrong to outlaw gay marriage. But we're talking about what's moral here, not what is an actual civil crime.

BUT let's just assume they were one and the same, for sake of argument (what should be moral and what should be crime, I mean). If we define crime as something that violates the rights of someone else, then homosexuality could be seen as a crime against God (again if we agreed that He is there and has spoken). I say this, because God has a Right that humans do not, that comes with His status as Creator. He has the Right to set the rules that we're to abide by in order to please Him, if we so wish to please Him.

Again, I don't expect you to believe me in any of this, but just to see that it's a reasonable position to take, if we start with the presupposition that God is there and He has spoken.

In the interest of time and space here, I'll save your comment about "God can't mourn, ...etc." for later. I'm sure I've pestered you enough today. :)

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

I can not give this the reply I want. I have one day left to pack lots of things before I leave. I will answer quickly and briefly unfortunately.

I use the words interchangeably only in the context of your comments which were that such things violate god, not that they violate the law. To violate a being is to harm them in some manner, to infringe on their rights or personhood. If you see a bare breast it may offend you (I speak of most Christians) but it does not violate you. Violating the law may not mean harm at all just bad law. And I think OT law is bad law written by people who were culture bound to the ancient and barbaric times in which they lived.

I know the difference between crime and morality. Crime is a subset of morality. It is basically what I call "public morality" or that which deals with interactions between people. Morality is larger than that. There is personal morality which is not necessarily harmful to others. Someone taking heroin harms themself. It ought not be a crime but in my view it's harm makes it immoral. The difference is your morality is determined by a book and mine is rooted in trying to understand reality and why man needs a moral code, what purpose it serves to his well being.

I can't take the, if god is there argument seriously. It's the "if pigs could fly" type of world. If human nature and reality were different from what it is now then socialism would work. It isn't so such arguments are pointless. If there was no gravity all sorts of other things would be possible and some important things impossible. If we breathed in C02 and not oxygen things would be different. I can't argue about what things would be like if they weren't like they are. That is pointless and gives us no guidance.

I may not be able to reply tomorrow or post but will try. Saturday will impossible as I travel the full day. Maybe Sunday if I have internet, which I assume I will but don't know what problems may occur as i try to hook up there.

December 14, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

No problem at all. I'll be looking forward to your return, and I wish you safe travel.

December 15, 2006

 
Blogger teech said...

You two should stop wasting each other's time. Publius doesn't want to know the obvious evidence that his Bible is not inerrant. He seems to need it to validate him as a "good" person and "holy," in contrast to the rest of us, who think, yes, for ourselves--with our glorious consciences, the sources of sane morality.

Publius, do us all a favor and read non-proselytizing histories of your religion. Become one of the many smart atheists who started out as fundamentalists, then read their own book critically. And were finally free to spread real, human, light and love.

December 18, 2006

 
Blogger Publius II said...

Rational discussion is never a waste of time, teech, if it spurs any thought at all. And what evidence is it that you find "obvious" exactly? I am not at all validated as a good person, nor a holy one. To make such as statement shows your lack of understanding of what I believe, and what scripture teaches.

You speak of spreading light and love, but yet you hatefully insult me? Quite convincing.

December 18, 2006

 

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