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Gay people of faith

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I was meant to post something about this for Fiend and a few others a while ago (sorry, I ran out of time!). The recent flurry of gay-related threads reminded me, as they all seem to refer to religion (specifically to Christianity) somewhere.

As a lot of you will be aware, I'm a Christian and I'm also gay. I don't see that there's a contradiction between the two. As Christians we are called into loving - yes, and sexual - relationships with other people and instinctively I can't understand a view of the gospel that would exclude LGBT people from this calling.

The arguments feel fairly standard and almost stagnant these days but it's very pertinent - and, I think, very important - right now for any faith group to firstly acknowledge the debate and then listen to it. I do get the feeling sometimes that there are Christians who can't even bear to listen (this isn't aimed at anyone here, incidentally). For example, I was intrigued by finding new edition of John Stott's book, Issues Facing Christians Today and had a quick look at it yesterday. At one point, discussing homosexual relationships, he claims that they are harmful because of promiscuity and the risk of AIDS. I'm not quite sure how that applies to loving, committed, monogamous and safe gay relationships or marriages any more than it applies to heterosexual marriage (assuming that Stott doesn't agree that you can have a committed sexual relationship without marriage). It's interesting that despite being a book on the issues, he doesn't seem to acknowledge the debate (if anyone has read the chapter more fully and I'm wrong, please correct me).

This is a bit of a rant, but I didn't want to launch into theology straight off. If anyone wants to, though, I will discuss it.
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It seems to me that you're free to interpret the bible however you want (no-one takes it literally because it's impossible to do). Therefore there's only a conflict between your interpretation and someone elses. Personally, I will never accept "because it says so in the bible" or "because God says so" from anyone, because it's a cop out. It just shows me that they're accepting something blindly, rather than questioning and understanding the reasons behind the "rules" in the bible. If there is such a thing as a God, he made you intelligent for a reason. If they can't back it up with an actual logical argument, then I'll disregard any view they might have, no matter what book they got it from.

    ETA: Yeah I know, I'm neither of the things in the title. :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote:
    I was meant to post something about this for Fiend and a few others a while ago (sorry, I ran out of time!). The recent flurry of gay-related threads reminded me, as they all seem to refer to religion (specifically to Christianity) somewhere.

    As a lot of you will be aware, I'm a Christian and I'm also gay. I don't see that there's a contradiction between the two. As Christians we are called into loving - yes, and sexual - relationships with other people and instinctively I can't understand a view of the gospel that would exclude LGBT people from this calling.

    The arguments feel fairly standard and almost stagnant these days but it's very pertinent - and, I think, very important - right now for any faith group to firstly acknowledge the debate and then listen to it. I do get the feeling sometimes that there are Christians who can't even bear to listen (this isn't aimed at anyone here, incidentally). For example, I was intrigued by finding new edition of John Stott's book, Issues Facing Christians Today and had a quick look at it yesterday. At one point, discussing homosexual relationships, he claims that they are harmful because of promiscuity and the risk of AIDS. I'm not quite sure how that applies to loving, committed, monogamous and safe gay relationships or marriages any more than it applies to heterosexual marriage (assuming that Stott doesn't agree that you can have a committed sexual relationship without marriage). It's interesting that despite being a book on the issues, he doesn't seem to acknowledge the debate (if anyone has read the chapter more fully and I'm wrong, please correct me).

    This is a bit of a rant, but I didn't want to launch into theology straight off. If anyone wants to, though, I will discuss it.
    On the issue of AIDS Nicky Gumbell's book 'Searching Issues' addresses that stupid old argument that AIDS is God's punishment for Gay people by pointing out that this cannot be true because the group least likely to catch HIV are lesbians! (Although a lot of his stuff doesn't go far enough, he sits on the fence too much for my liking).

    I believe that we are all sinners but being LGBT does not make you any more or any less of a sinner than the next person. Churches and individual 'Christians' who preach against the acceptance of LGBT really upset me because they are doing the exact opposite of what Christianity is all about.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The Bible is very old and was written in reflection to the norms and values of the society at that time, ergo a lot of ideas put in to the Bible (written by men) will seem old fashioned. Funnily enough, Leviticus says that eating pork is a sin, how many people eat pork?

    I think that with any religious text, people pick and choose due to their own prejudices, likes and dislikes what to believe. There will always be Christians who hate homosexuals just as there will always be atheists who do. It's still a cause brave people like Piccolo will have to keep on fighting. I am sure that many moons ago there were Christians who were very against women's rights, but as society evolves so does religion.
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Stalin's Organist Posts: 13,327
    There IS no contradiction at all between Faith and Homosexuality. Your sexuality is your choice.

    TBH - the only contradiction is Organised Religion and Sexuality. Also, Organised Religion and thier Holy Books are a complete contradiction 99% of the time. Christianity preaches exactally against a big organisation running things - your faith is your own choice of beleif, and you should be free to express it as you like. And practice as you like, obviously both within reason here. You don't need to go to a church to do so, or give money to the church for fear of burning in hell.

    Indeed, organised religion, I feel, was probably warned against in the Bible. But the Catholic Church wouldn't dare let us see what the Bible really says. Between them and the Kings of England the Bible has been ammended and mutilated so much it's a disgrace.

    I wonder whta the original Bible really says...
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I'm not gay, but I'm a christian.
    Personally, I will never accept "because it says so in the bible" or "because God says so" from anyone, because it's a cop out. It just shows me that they're accepting something blindly, rather than questioning and understanding the reasons behind the "rules" in the bible. If there is such a thing as a God, he made you intelligent for a reason. If they can't back it up with an actual logical argument, then I'll disregard any view they might have, no matter what book they got it from.
    I totally agree with this. Too many people subscribe to that "Believe and do not seek" thing, which is nonsense. You can't support an opinion that you don't fully understand.

    And as others have said: Parts of the bible were written specifically for the writers' own time. What we're supposed to get from the book isn't "laws", but a sense of morality.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Question to religious peeps: how much attention do you pay to the leaders of your faith? Do you usually go with their advice? Do you adhere to the 'official' view of your faith as told by those who rule it?
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I'm not really religious, but I think there shouldn't be any religious "leaders". They should only act as counsellors, to make suggestions. No one should think they're always right or whatever.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've never read the bible, but i have a christian friend who has and says that it's impossible to follow because it contradicts itself so much.
    She told me about a story thats in there, about a village that was destroyed by a fire or something, and only this man and his 2 daughters survived. So they got him drunk and slept with him to get pregnant so that they could re-populate the village. :eek2:

    As moonrat said, the bible is outdated and mostly written by men, i don't think it should be taken too seriously at this day and age.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote:
    She told me about a story thats in there, about a village that was destroyed by a fire or something, and only this man and his 2 daughters survived. So they got him drunk and slept with him to get pregnant so that they could re-populate the village. :eek2:
    The story is Soddom and Gamorrah in Genesis 19. It's one of the main passages used to condemn homosexuals (it was destroyed when the men of the village attempted to rape 2 male angels staying in Lot's house - Lot is the man who later slept with his daughter). It's unlikely that it's homosexuality and not rape that caused the town's destruction.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To call oneself Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu for that matter) seems to me to be an entirely arbitrary act. My experiences of organised religion, specifically its members, are that it’s exceptionally hard to find two people who hold the same beliefs. Even taking into account the various clans that have formed under the banner of Christianity: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians et al, I’ve still struggled to find consensus of opinion. I’d even go as far as to say I have more in common with some Christians I’ve met, morally speaking, than they would with have with other Christians I’ve happened across.

    The point being, as far as I’m concerned, is that Christians who have united in their disapproval/discouraging/condemning of homosexuality have simply united in bigotry, nothing more. To use interpretation of the bible as the rationale behind such odious views, is immediately laughable, but then worrying. It means they’ve selectively ignored all the clearly insane and contradictory claims the bible makes, and have instead chosen to try rummage between the lines to find an excuse for their repugnant moral stance.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To call oneself Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu for that matter) seems to me to be an entirely arbitrary act. My experiences of organised religion, specifically its members, are that it’s exceptionally hard to find two people who hold the same beliefs.

    :thumb: :thumb:

    Hallelujah !

    I`ll unite with you in that observation.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As MoonRat says, the Bible is filled with ideas and values of its own time that have nothing to do with the word of God and his/her revelation. The tricky part is to discern which is which though.

    I do not think the appropriate way to do it is simply by taking in what you like and disregard all that you don't - it's a process that should be done carefully, with a lot of studying and reflexion behind. But in the end, it's your own conscience you should decide by.

    There are various parts in the Bible that condemn or look down upon homosexuality, in both the Old and New Testaments - but I believe it is too simplistic to just swallow it without thought. My personal belief about homosexuality is that it is not sinful. And I believe the feedback that people like Piccolo give back to Christianity is very valuable, one that in time, together with other voices will hopefully change the views of the various Christian Churches.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I’d even go as far as to say I have more in common with some Christians I’ve met, morally speaking, than they would with have with other Christians I’ve happened across.
    Yes, I feel totally identified with this. I'm a Catholic but on many moral views I feel I have more in common with atheists/agnostics than I have with other fellow Catholics I share my Church with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not really religious, but I think there shouldn't be any religious "leaders". They should only act as counsellors, to make suggestions. No one should think they're always right or whatever.
    That's exactly what religious leaders are there for, to give counsel and advice. It's not expected that people should believe they are always right.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Teh_Gerbil wrote:
    Christianity preaches exactally against a big organisation running things.
    Where is this teaching exactly?
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    bluewisdom wrote:
    That's exactly what religious leaders are there for, to give counsel and advice. It's not expected that people should believe they are always right.
    Many of them do though. Many Catholics believe the Pope is always right, and many people of many religions and dogmas would follow blindly something that the village priest said, without questioning it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Many of them do though. Many Catholics believe the Pope is always right, and many people of many religions and dogmas would follow blindly something that the village priest said, without questioning it.
    Indeed, and that bothers me and saddens me very much I have to say. But the fact that it happens, doesn't mean it should happen, or that the religion openly teaches that it should.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bluewisdom wrote:
    Indeed, and that bothers me and saddens me very much I have to say. But the fact that it happens, doesn't mean it should happen, or that the religion openly teaches that it should.

    This is what confuses me: Over the past few posts you've described how your views, faith and morals differ greatly to your fellow Catholics, let alone the wider Christian faith. You also said that you understand The Bible is something which should be looked at critically, and is certainly not to be taken literally. What then makes you identify yourself as Christian, and more specifically Catholic? Is it just the label that was give to your belief(s) by your parents, or whomever exposed you to the faith?

    I know that last paragraph sounds confrontational, and honestly it's not meant to be. I'm genuinely interested.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To call oneself Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu for that matter) seems to me to be an entirely arbitrary act. My experiences of organised religion, specifically its members, are that it’s exceptionally hard to find two people who hold the same beliefs. Even taking into account the various clans that have formed under the banner of Christianity: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians et al, I’ve still struggled to find consensus of opinion. I’d even go as far as to say I have more in common with some Christians I’ve met, morally speaking, than they would with have with other Christians I’ve happened across.

    The point being, as far as I’m concerned, is that Christians who have united in their disapproval/discouraging/condemning of homosexuality have simply united in bigotry, nothing more. To use interpretation of the bible as the rationale behind such odious views, is immediately laughable, but then worrying. It means they’ve selectively ignored all the clearly insane and contradictory claims the bible makes, and have instead chosen to try rummage between the lines to find an excuse for their repugnant moral stance.
    Well religion is very much to do with culture and identity, people don't just wake up in the morning and decide to be Christian. There will always be people with different ideas, just as socialists have different ideas on (for example) nonviolence, just as you can be a part of the rock scene yet hate System of a Down, even if other people disagree.

    What do you mean about 'clans'? Denominations? They were originally part of one church and then broke away because of differing opinions.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well religion is very much to do with culture and identity, people don't just wake up in the morning and decide to be Christian. There will always be people with different ideas, just as socialists have different ideas on (for example) nonviolence, just as you can be a part of the rock scene yet hate System of a Down, even if other people disagree.

    What do you mean about 'clans'? Denominations? They were originally part of one church and then broke away because of differing opinions.

    I understand that people don’t generally one day decide to be Christian; people are usually indoctrinated by their parents. I also appreciate that religion gives people a sense of identity, and that’s exactly what I’m questioning. As most beliefs are arbitrary, how does one obtain a sense of identity? You just all agree that you’re in the same club, regardless of moralistic and idealistic belief? I’d find that especially difficult when a lot of my fellow believers believe in totally different - and frankly, frequently fundamentally different - things.

    We’re not talking about political theory, music tastes or your favourite sports team’s tactics though. A religious person presumably believes in an after-life, probably in the notions of heaven and hell, and that there’s a particular way to worship the Supreme Being. Decisions, convictions and beliefs which are of magnitudes so vastly greater than whether System of a Down rock, or not, that they really can’t be compared.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is what confuses me: Over the past few posts you've described how your views, faith and morals differ greatly to your fellow Catholics, let alone the wider Christian faith. You also said that you understand The Bible is something which should be looked at critically, and is certainly not to be taken literally. What then makes you identify yourself as Christian, and more specifically Catholic? Is it just the label that was give to your belief(s) by your parents, or whomever exposed you to the faith?

    I know that last paragraph sounds confrontational, and honestly it's not meant to be. I'm genuinely interested.
    Sure, I'm more than happy to answer this.

    I am a Christian -a Catholic to be more specific- because I believe in the core teachings of the faith (Jesus Christ came to redeem the world, the Holy Trinity, Eternal life, live life according to the Gospels, etc.). It is these core beliefs that make me identify with Christianity. According to my beliefs I could belong to other Christian Churches, but decided to stay in the Catholic Church (which is the one I was baptised into) mainly because of two reasons:

    Firstly, because to some extent it has been my spiritual home, and as such there is a part of me that feels warmly towards it (as you do towards your home), in spite of the fact that there are many many things (mostly moral issues) which I disapprove of (again, like you sometimes feel towards your home: you don't always like everything about it, but it's still your home).

    And secondly, derived from the previous, I believe that changing things from within is more powerful than attacking them from the outside, which is why I decided to stay in this particular Church. If there were any core teachings I were downright against then I would not have stayed. But what many people don't realise is that particular moral views, and issues to do with the governing of the Church aren't central issues - they are secondary. These last is where the field of my disagreement mostly stands, and which I constantly fight to change - but from within. At the end of the day I know my sole efforts aren't really going to make a visible difference, but I believe they do sum up towards the growing group of people who are trying to give the same battle as I am, and even if I don't see any success, at least I know I've lived my life coherently with what I believe.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As I understand it, the texts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam forbid homosexuality on the basis of it being a deviation from the natural order. If that's true - and i haven't seen anything suggesting the contrary other than a "need to modernise" - then it seems strange homosexuals would follow those religions.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    How about the fact that it happens in many species that aren't capable of "modernising"?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You also said that you understand The Bible is something which should be looked at critically, and is certainly not to be taken literally. What then makes you identify yourself as Christian, and more specifically Catholic?
    Just to clarify this point which I missed to do so before: it is not me only who is saying that the Bible shouldn't be taken literally, but the Catholic doctrine. In this particular opinion I am not deviating from what my Church says on the matter.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why should the Catholic Church pick and choose?

    Either they admit that large parts of the Bible are to be safely ignored or they should obey it to the letter.

    When it comes to, say, homosexuality, the Catholic Church is basing its bigotry and prejudice on a few selected versicles. If it is just following the doctrine of the Bible, why does it ignore other instructions regarding rich people or those who work on the Sabbath?

    It is high time the Church either went full on fundamentalist and campaigned against everyone who commits acts that are banned in the Bible, or admitted large parts of the OT are nonsense,that the overall message of Chrisitanity is one of love and that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against any more than those who like lobster are.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Why should the Catholic Church pick and choose?

    Oh come on. They picked and chose what to include in the bible in the first place, you don't think they can pick and choose from what they actually put in there?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    As a lot of you will be aware, I'm a Christian and I'm also gay. I don't see that there's a contradiction between the two. As Christians we are called into loving - yes, and sexual - relationships with other people and instinctively I can't understand a view of the gospel that would exclude LGBT people from this calling.

    Hey Piccolo,

    I read this today and thought of you ... http://www.godmademegay.com/Letter.htm ... I thought you might find it a refreshing change to have this sensitive and considered viewpoint expoused by a heterosexual Baptist minister. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    When it comes to, say, homosexuality, the Catholic Church is basing its bigotry and prejudice on a few selected versicles.

    Well, Catholics' position on homosexuality is more a part of their doctrine than a few versus' in the OT. You'd must be thinking about evangelical Christains.
    Aladdin wrote: »
    If it is just following the doctrine of the Bible, why does it ignore other instructions regarding rich people

    There's lots of Catholic charities. Though the Vatican does have lots of assets.
    Aladdin wrote: »
    or those who work on the Sabbath?

    :confused:
    Aladdin wrote: »
    It is high time the Church either went full on fundamentalist and campaigned against everyone who commits acts that are banned in the Bible, or admitted large parts of the OT are nonsense,that the overall message of Chrisitanity is one of love and that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against any more than those who like lobster are.

    Christianity doesn't pay nearly as much attention to the OT than Judaism. Catholicism is a mixture of scripture, bible (NT mainly) and dogma/doctrine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yerascrote wrote: »
    Well, Catholics' position on homosexuality is more a part of their doctrine than a few versus' in the OT. You'd must be thinking about evangelical Christains.
    Ordinary Catholics, most of them, yes. The Catholic Church itself? No, not quite. There's nothing it likes more than a bit of gay bashing and at this very moment the English Catholic Church is demanding it continues to be allowed to discriminate against gays seeking to adopt a child.


    [quoteThere's lots of Catholic charities. Though the Vatican does have lots of assets.[/quote] I was actually referring to the selected memory the Catholic Church has when it comes to sinners. The Bible doesn't like gays or the rich. However you won't hear the Church bashing the latter to any extent near to how the bash the former.

    :confused:
    Another instance of people who are condemned by the Bible but the Church chooses to ignore. A little consistency would be nice.

    Christianity doesn't pay nearly as much attention to the OT than Judaism. Catholicism is a mixture of scripture, bible (NT mainly) and dogma/doctrine.
    If the Catholic Church doesn't pay that much attention to the OT why does it so obsessed with homosexuality, masturbation or artificial contraception?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    If the Catholic Church doesn't pay that much attention to the OT why does it so obsessed with homosexuality, masturbation or artificial contraception?

    As I said, it's part of their dogma/doctrine. You won't hear a Catholic priest standing on the pulpit, quoting texts from the OT about homosexuality. They'll just say it's wrong.
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