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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
Why do I always ramble on about homosexuality?

Probably because I keep running across interesting questions and bits, I suppose.

lync pointed out swishnflick's open question about homosexuality.

It's interesting, and frankly I'm glad to see that bookshop is right, being raised as a member of a baptist church does not inherently make one a fanatical ass. I still suspect it raises the odds of it, though.

The questions are interesting -- and ones that I wish the conservative right in the US would spend more time addressing. How does one, who has been taught that homosexuality is akin to baby-raping, reconcile their faith with the realization that there's more to the issue than "OMG! Two men in bed together! EWWWW!" Come to think on it, I wish the liberal left would spend some time on it, too.

The things our parents and their community teach us as children are some of the hardest lessons to question and overcome. In this, bookshop is totally correct. It's an ideology, with all that it implies, not merely a few (okay, a lot) of intolerant people. It is easier to accept that 'someone in authority' has told you that someone is evil, the root of all your problems/problems with society, than think for yourself. If the Bible says it, then it's so -- never mind that there are whole swathes of the Bible that the average Christian would say "Yes, well, we don't do that anymore/believe that anymore... Polyester/cotton blends aren't evil, homosexuality is!"

...and they'll say it with as little to back up their point as those who might campaign about how poly/cot is the work of the Devil and that paisley's are Satanic.

I'm not going to debate the whether homosexuality is a sin. After all, it isn't in my religion.

I'm not going to debate whether or not Christians should think of it as a sin. I think it's between them and their God.

I think that the real difficulty for those who have begun examining the text and actually thinking about it (as opposed to parroting it) is that the past and the present are two very different places. The things that we value now are not the same things that were valued then. It's hard, from a modern perspective, to see Lot offer up his virgin daughters to distract the crowd at his door.

This is a pious man and from the values of our times that's got to be one of the most horrific acts in the story.

As a historian, I read the story and see an issue of the stranger-host/stranger-guest relationship. Not protecting his guests would have been a serious breach of divine law and will. In contemporary cultures refusing hospitality was sufficient to call down the wrath of the gods upon a community. To my eyes it has so very little to do with whatever the crowd might have wanted to do with them.

Which, in turn, brings up issues of translation... it goes on and on and on.

No matter how you look at it, it becomes a quagmire of ifs and buts and supposes. Did God mean for X to go on for all time, or just until we grew up a little? Can I really accept that a God of love and forgiveness wants me to stone my neighbor to death for violating code Y, or aleph, or lowercase zeta?

How much of the Bible can one take literally? How much is allegorical? How much is historical? Is it a book written by God or written by men with God's influence? Do we allow for errors because humans are notoriously hard of hearing when it comes to the Word of the Divine?

And all of it shaded by the vast gulf between us and 1 AD and beyond.

It's got to be very hard on faith. Which is why, I suppose, that it becomes easier to respond with "It just is/because my pastor told me so/because/because/because..."

Because faith is supposed to be unshakable, it is supposed to be the bedrock upon which people can build their lives, and when people look closely enough at it to that there might be cracks... well... The Nile becomes more than just a river in Egypt.

I wish there was some way for me, for whom tolerance is an ideology and a way of life, to make it easier for people undergoing this kind of questioning. I wish that everyone could see clear to at least live and let live... because that's where I have to make my stand. My stand is in the secular world, not in religious debate. No argument with a basis in anyone's theology is one that holds water in the secular world... not when it comes to depriving people of life, liberty, or property. Not when it comes to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It's funny, really. In historical terms, much of Protestantism is based on the idea of a personal relationship with God that requires no intervention of a priest... that every person's interpretation of the Holy Word is valid.

Which makes everyone right and everyone wrong, all at once.

I suppose then, that I have to forgive the ones who do not hear the Word of the Divine the same way I do, with dual Godhead in the form of the God and the Goddess. They do not hear that loving my neighbor means tolerating his idiosyncrasies, so long as they harm none. And I can't hear their God telling me that the people I love, who also happen to be gay, are sinful and evil.

I suppose I should be grateful for that.

Thank you for a very thoughtful and well-worded post.

I'm not going to repeat my own views, since they're pretty much as the above, but I will note that a major part of the difficulty with the Church, the Bible and the intolerance stems from Paul.

I'll post more on that later, in my own journal (so as not to clutter up yours).

Re: Thank you for a very thoughtful and well-worded post.

Ohhhhh yes. Paul has a lot to answer for in the development of the Western World, much of it of the not-so-good (at least in my biased opinion.) Then again, I doubt that he could have envisioned how his words and views would have mutated over millenia, or how they would have been applied in a world so different from his own. There's no way of knowing.

I mean, think about it, it's only been two centuries since the Constitution was drafted... and already it is impossible to get two people on the street to agree upon much regarding interpretation of the text, how much significance should be attatched to the changing times -- or how little.

And it's written in English, a language that most native-born Americans speak reasonably fluently.

Not that this excuses Paul (or, for that matter, the founding fathers) from the negative effects of his words, but in all fairness I'm not sure anyone expects what they say to become some kind of monolithic structure with a life of its own.

*re-reads the last bits* Tolerance of other people's foibles can be such a pain. It makes me sound so co-dependent, trying to find excuses for my abuser. Anyhoo, I'm glad you liked it.

Interesting and well put.

"The Nile becomes more than just a river in Egypt."
... That only works if you phrase it "Da Nile" or something. heh At any rate, I think it works better in speech than written word. :P That's just me being nitpicky. Sorry! :P

*pbfththt* *blows raspberries*

You're prolly right, but there's that whole Bible-Middle Eastern theme...