Saturday, November 8, 2008

Because the Bible Told Me So

**WARNING - This is a rant through and through. It deals with religion and politics, two topics I don't claim to be a scholar on so if you're going to try and rip me apart for it I don't particularly care. I have better things to do with my life than read the Bible just so I have examples to use in a debate. But, I just wanted to get this stuff out because it had been brewing inside me. etc yada blah moving on**

The recent US election was a good day for many people. It was good for Americans in general because, well, it means after eight years of ineptness they are finally going to get somebody who (hopefully, natch) can guide them somewhere better than where they've been going all this time. It was a great day for people around the world as now the man running the most "powerful nation in then world" is man fit for the title. It was a great day for African-Americans who only 40-odd years ago were allowed to legally vote and who, for quite legitimate reasons, thought they would never see a black president. It was a bad day, however, for gay people. Not only did Proposition 8 pass in California, making gay marriage illegal, but props passed in other states such as Arkansas and Florida - one of which stated unmarried couples were not allowed to adopt, essentially wiping gay couples wanting to adopt off of the chart.

It's all very good that a nice number of American citizens saw fit to ditch the race card and elect a black President - although the popular vote numbers suggest that it really wasn't the landslide that the electoral college votes allude - but it's not nice to know that while certain prejudices are slipping, others are well and truly out in force. That Barack Obama claimed in his speech - an amazing speech, it must be said - that this was a day that proved, essentially, "anybody can do anything" though was a lie. Clearly the majority of Californian voters (and therefore, even more around the entire country) don't see gays and lesbians as equal. Much like many African-Americans never thought they could see a black man (or woman) become president in their lifetime, I too feel I will never see a gay man or woman take a seat in the Oval Office.

That there was a solid number of crossover between those who voted for Barack Obama as President and those who voted "Yes" on Prop 8 is disheartening. I've never quite understood how people of one minority (whether it be blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc) can be prejudiced against another, but it appears it will always be so. And so the LGBT community are back to being considered no more worthy than illegal immigrants. But, hey, even they're allowed to get married, right?

Nevertheless, there has been an interesting discussion going on in the blogosphere (here and here for example) as to whether the release of Harvey Milk biopic Milk could have helped Prop 8 fail. I certainly think it couldn't have hurt. A discussion was quite necessary. This entry at InContention though was the one that sparked this entry of my own. Somebody who goes by the name of "Joel" was there decrying Prop 8 as "going too far" and as "appalling" before then turning around and saying he "doesn't approve in" homosexuality. Colour me confused (and he hypocritical).

He even trots out the old "I have gay friends" chestnut that any celebrity uses when they've been caught out saying "fag". And that's right after claiming "I tolerate homosexuality." Wow. Thanks for tolerating us, mister! When I personally asked him how any self-respecting gay person would want to be friends with somebody so obviously disapproves of their lifestyle he merely got even more confusing (apparently his lesbian friends have no morals whatsoever). However, one bright spark by the name "Fei" replied and... well... doesn't this just sum up everything?

The belief that homosexuality is immoral is, in fact, immoral in itself. People who don’t realize this are ignorant or naive about morality is.

So what is morality? Everyone can agree that it’s about “what’s right and wrong.” But who decides what’s right and wrong, and on what basis? For too many people, their basis of morality is merely what some authority (usually religious) says is right and wrong. These people are robots who should be treated with derision and suspicion. Why? If their morals are dictated by what their authority says, then what if that authority said that slavery is moral?

Most Christians would dispute the idea that God would command or approve of anything that just about everyone would agree is immoral, such as slavery. However, the many verses in the Bible giving guidelines about how to properly conduct slavery show that God does, in fact, approve of slavery. Most sensible people realize that morality has changed over time, which is why slavery is unacceptable today, while it was perfectly acceptable in ancient times. The fact that most Christians also disapprove of slavery today illustrates how influential secular sources of morality have been to their worldview. That means that these same Christians actually don’t need God to tell them what’s right and wrong, rendering God an irrelevant source for morality (except in spiritual matters that have nothing to do with the real world).

So everyone needs a better basis for morality than the word of some dictatorial authority. Again, we return to the question: What’s right and wrong? We can all agree, from personal experience, that suffering is generally a terrible thing. Therefore, we define needless suffering as evil, and any act that leads to it can be defined as morally wrong. So what’s wrong about homosexuality? What’s wrong with two men or two women being in love with each other? Whom does that hurt?

Homosexuality causes suffering for those who believe that it is wrong. Gays who believe that homosexuality is a sin suffer immensely. When a gay person comes out to loved ones who disapprove of homosexuality, those loved ones also suffer. But all of this does not mean that homosexuality is wrong. It only means that the belief that it is wrong, which has no rational basis, is the true cause of suffering and thus the truly immoral thing. Let me reiterate: THE IRRATIONAL BELIEF THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG CAUSES NEEDLESS SUFFERING, WHICH MAKES IT AN IMMORAL AND EVIL BELIEF.

People like Joel need to explain a) why homosexuality is wrong, not just because God says so, b) why a morality dictated by an invisible and possibly nonexistent authority is superior to a reason-based morality, and c) why they reject certain moral beliefs in the Bible (such as slavery being OK) while accepting others (such as homosexuality being sinful).

I normally wouldn't have quoted that entire blog reply, but I felt it was important and you may not have clicked over to read the entire thing, and you needed to have read the whole thing to really get the key to it.

It is always my beef with religioun that nobody can fully explain why certain beliefs are to be and that so many religious fanatics (there are plenty of sane and rational religious people) mask their hatred of others behind this cloth of a so-called "god". Fine that you believe in god, but why should your belief be more valid than mine for instance?

And so it goes. This "Joel" person continued to dive off into the deep end by turning into a stark raving mad lunatic:

To put it bluntly and simply, I am right, and you are wrong. If that offends you, deal with it. If that “doesn’t work” for you, I don’t care. The Bible is true no matter what you say or believe. God IS a dictatorial being because what else could He be?

Here’s the brutal truth: Homosexuality is wrong. It’s just not physically possible, for one, but it breaks all kinds of Bible laws. You don’t believe in the Bible? Oh, okay. God really couldn’t care less. He’s still in charge of your hardened heart, whether that works for you or not. Sin is sin, whether that works for you or not.

And then worst/craziest/scariest of all he starts rationalising the Holocaust:

But the fact is, we don’t know God’s plan. He is the Alpha (beginning), but He is also the Omega (end). His plan was to sacrifice those Jews, but that’s HIS plan. We are not ready to know why this happened, until we reach Heaven.

Aah, yes! It's all "HIS plan", so that makes the Holocaust okay. I guess those 250,000 people who died in the Boxing Day Tsunami were part of his plan too because they weren't Christians. Christ Almighty (lol), what is wrong with these people? I have nothing against the plenty of lovely soulful religious people that I know (and those that I don't), but it's people's like "Joel" that keep the world at war and filled with hatred. Sarah Palin believes the Iraq war was god's plan too and that is just yet another reason why the US election was a good day don't you think?


Ben Wilson said...

There are people like "Joel" everywhere, and I suspect there always will be. But then there will also always be murderers, rapists, and corrupt politicians. The point is that, as the world moves forward, they largely become lesser in number and power. Assuming of-course that rational, accepting people (like the writer and readers of this blog!!!) continue being exactly who we are and NOT hiding in the face of blatant bigotry.

I don't bother with people like "Joel" anymore. Stupid people will always exist, it's a fact of nature. Thankfully, those sorts of beliefs don't really impact on my life at all.

Kamikaze Camel said...

it was so strange, because despite is slightly warped view of the world he didn't seem that crazy and then all of a sudden he became this fanatical zealot extolling the lessons of god from his high point on the rocky mountain with a burning bush on one side and a Cameron Kirk lookalike on the other as if he's some wise emperor spreading his knowledge throughout the land to all the impure and dirty soulless beasts below.

Guy said...

Part of me wants the Joels of this world banned from the site. Another part thinks it's actually really useful to have them, and their vile thoughts, exposed for all to see -- as a reminder of just how far the world has to go in some respects.

His imaginary gay friends, meanwhile, must be awfully self-loathing. I think they might need counselling even more than he does.

JackAttack said...

That Fei guy is a champ.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I know! He's written tonnes more since all this and it's all perfect.

"If the Christian god does exist, he clearly must not be a just and loving god. By definition, a just and loving and almighty god would not create humans only to condemn them to lives of horrible suffering and afterlives of even worse suffering. This god is evil; such a god is not worthy of worship."

and so on.

FranklinBluth said...

I'm really glad that you ended this blog entry with, and I paraphrase, 'the election of barrack obama = a good day'. While it is REALLY sad that prop 8, and others like it, passed, I think we must focus on the positive. Barack Obama is amazing, and inspirational. I guess I can just refer to that time old saying, "you win some, you lose some". Let us acknowledge our losses, but still celebrate our wins!!